Betty Binns Fletcher

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Betty Binns Fletcher
Judge Betty Binns Fletcher.jpg
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
In office
September 26, 1979 – November 1, 1998
Nominated by Jimmy Carter
Preceded by Seat established
Succeeded by Richard Tallman
Personal details
Born (1923-03-29)March 29, 1923
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
Died October 22, 2012(2012-10-22) (aged 89)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Alma mater Stanford University
University of Washington, Seattle

Betty Binns Fletcher (March 29, 1923 – October 22, 2012) was an American lawyer and judge. She served as a federal judge on the San Francisco-based United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit between 1979 and 2012.

Fletcher was one of the first women to become a partner in a major American law firm and the second woman to be appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Tacoma, Washington, Fletcher attended Stanford University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1942 at the age of 19. She completed one year of law school before resuming her legal education a decade later at the University of Washington School of Law, where she finished among the top of her class in 1956.

Private practice[edit]

She was in private practice in Seattle, Washington, from 1956 to 1979. As a practicing lawyer, Fletcher earned a reputation for pragmatism. When she was made a partner at Preston Gates & Ellis (now K&L Gates) she became the first woman to become a partner at a major Pacific Northwest law firm. Fletcher's clients included former Supreme Court Associate Justice William O. Douglas. She was instrumental in expanding the firm's presence in Asia.

Fletcher was an active member of the Washington State Bar Association and from 1972-1973 served as the first female president of the King County Bar Association in Seattle.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals[edit]

Fletcher was nominated by President Jimmy Carter on July 12, 1979, to a new seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, created by 92 Stat. 1629. She was confirmed by the Senate on September 26, 1979, and received her commission the same day.

On the bench, Fletcher wrote opinions in areas such as employment discrimination, environmental law, Indian law, water rights, export restrictions on cryptography, obscenity on the internet, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Fletcher took senior status on November 1, 1998, after her son William A. Fletcher joined the Ninth Circuit bench. She died on October 22, 2012.[2]


External links[edit]

Legal offices
New seat Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Succeeded by
Richard Tallman