Ellen Ash Peters

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Ellen Ash Peters (born 1930-03-21 in Berlin) was appointed to the Connecticut Supreme Court in 1978. She was the first woman appointed to that court.

At age nine she emigrated to the United States with her parents from Nazi Germany. Peters attended Hunter College High School in New York, and graduated with honors from Swarthmore College and cum laude from Yale Law School in 1954.

Peters served as professor of law at Yale until 1978 when she was appointed to the Connecticut Supreme Court. Peters remained an adjunct professor from 1978 to 1984. Peters became the first woman to be named a justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court in 1978, the first female Chief Justice in Connecticut history in 1984.

Peters was the first recipient of the Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Medal. Peters has been honored by numerous organizations. She was the recipient of the Judiciary Award of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers' Association, the Yale Law School Distinguished Service Medal, and the Hartford College for Women Pioneer Woman Award. In 2002, she was honored with the Warren E. Burger Award from the National Center for State Courts.

Notable committee and board memberships of Peters include the Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (1973–74), and the national Board of Directors of the Conference of Chief Justices (1987). Peters became its first woman president in 1994. Justice Peters sat as Chief Justice from 1984 to 1996 when she elected to take senior status and continued to sit with the Court as needed until she turned 70 in 2000. Peters remains extremely active as a Judge Trial Referee designated to the Appellate Court in Hartford.

Peters has three children: David, Jim, and Julie and currently lives in Hartford, CT with her husband Phillip Blumberg.

Notable Decisions[edit]

Sheff v. O'Neill refers to a 1989 lawsuit and the subsequent 1996 Connecticut Supreme Court case (Sheff v. O'Neill, 238 Conn. 1, 678 A.2d 1267) that resulted in a landmark decision regarding civil rights and the right to education. In 1996 the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the state had an affirmative obligation to provide Connecticut's school children with a substantially equal educational opportunity and that this constitutionally guaranteed right encompasses the access to a public education which is not substantially and materially impaired by racial and ethnic isolation. The Court further concluded that school districting based upon town and city boundary lines are unconstitutional, and cited a statute that bounds school districts by town lines as a key factor in the high concentrations of racial and ethnic minorities in Hartford. [1] This was a split 4-3 decision, which was authored by Chief Justice Peters. She was joined in the majority opinion by Justices Robert Berdon, Flemming L. Norcott, Jr., and Joette Katz. Justice David Borden authored the dissent, with Justices Robert Callahan and Richard Palmer concurring with the dissent.

Sources[edit]

  • Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame [2]
  • Remarks by Justice Peters upon her retirement [3]
  • Peters receives award from National Center for State Courts [4]