Leondra Kruger

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Leondra Kruger
Leondra Kruger.jpg
Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court
Assumed office
January 5, 2015
Appointed byJerry Brown
Preceded byJoyce L. Kennard
Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States
In office
May 17, 2010 – June 9, 2011
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byNeal Katyal
Succeeded byNeal Katyal
Personal details
Born (1976-07-28) July 28, 1976 (age 44)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Spouse(s)Brian Hauck
EducationHarvard University (AB)
Yale University (JD)

Leondra Reid Kruger (born July 28, 1976) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California and a former Obama administration official. She has been considered a possible future candidate for a nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States.[1]


Born in the Los Angeles area,[2] Kruger grew up in South Pasadena.[3] Her mother is Jamaican[4] and her father is Jewish.[5] She attended Polytechnic School, a private day school, in Pasadena, California.[2] She then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from Harvard University, where she wrote for The Harvard Crimson and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.[6][7][8] She graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious Yale Law Journal.[9][10] In the summer of 1999, she interned at the United States Attorney's office in Los Angeles. In 2000, she worked as a summer associate at Munger, Tolles & Olson.[6]

Kruger worked as an associate at the Jenner & Block law firm from 2001 until 2002. She then worked as a law clerk for Judge David Tatel on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 2002 until 2003. Kruger then clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court from 2003 until 2004.[11][8]

From 2004 to 2006, Kruger was an associate at Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Dorr.[12] She was a visiting assistant professor in 2007 at the University of Chicago Law School.[12][13]

From 2007 to 2013, Kruger was an assistant to the United States Solicitor General and the acting principal deputy solicitor general.[8] She argued 12 cases before the US Supreme Court.[14]

In 2013, Kruger became a deputy assistant attorney general at the United States Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel.[11]

Judicial career[edit]

On November 24, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown announced the appointment of Kruger to the California Supreme Court.[2] She had no prior judicial experience before her appointment to the California Supreme Court.[15]

Kruger was confirmed on December 29, 2014, and replaced Associate Justice Joyce L. Kennard, who retired.[16][17] She was sworn in on January 5, 2015, and became the court's second African-American woman justice, following Janice Rogers Brown.[18][19][12] At 38, she was the youngest appointee[a] to the court in recent years and the third youngest appointee to the court ever, after Hugh C. Murray and M. C. Sloss.[20][11] In November 2015, Kruger delivered the annual Bernard E. Witkin lecture before the Los Angeles County Bar Association.[13]

On the court, Kruger has emerged as an as incrementalist,[21] and is sometimes considered one of the swing votes when the court is occasionally divided.

Her opinions include Barry v. State Bar of California (2017) 2 Cal.5th 318, concerning subject matter jurisdiction and California's anti-SLAPP statute.[22][23]

After then Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made a campaign pledge to appoint the first African-American woman to the United States Supreme Court, Kruger became the subject of speculation as a future court nominee.[24] If she replaces Justice Stephen Breyer she would also continue the tradition of the court's "Jewish seat." While Justice Elana Kagan is also Jewish, Breyer sits in a seat that has historically been assigned to a Jew for the past 100 years. The seat was held by Benjamin Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas and Breyer.[25][26]

Personal life[edit]

Kruger is married to Brian Hauck, a partner at Jenner & Block in Los Angeles, and they have two children.[27][28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Other, younger members of the court in the past were elected: David S. Terry, at 32; Erskine Mayo Ross, at 34; Terry W. Ward, at 37; and Van R. Paterson, at 38.
  1. ^ Savage, David. "Biden says he'll put a black woman on Supreme Court. This California justice is a leading candidate". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Siders, David (November 24, 2014). "Gov. Jerry Brown names Obama administration lawyer to California Supreme Court". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  3. ^ Dolan, Maura (November 25, 2014). "Brown again surprises with court nominee". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ "Leondra Kruger: New California Supreme Court Judge Boasts Jamaican Parent". Jamaica Gleaner Newspaper. December 23, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  5. ^ "Leondra Kruger confirmed to California Supreme Court". Sacramento Bee. December 22, 2014. She credited her late father, the son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe
  6. ^ a b Dolan, Maura (November 24, 2014). "Leondra R. Kruger appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to state Supreme Court". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  7. ^ "Writer: Leondra Kruger". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "Background of court nominee Leondra Kruger". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. November 14, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  9. ^ "Masthead, vol 110". Yale Law Journal. October 2000. Retrieved September 13, 2017. Leondra Reid Kruger, Editor-in-chief
  10. ^ "Conversation with Justice Leondra Kruger '01, sponsored by Yale Law Journal". Yale Law School. November 17, 2016. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Dolan, Maura (November 24, 2014). "Expected California Supreme Court nominee Leondra Kruger a 'mind blower'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c "Second Black woman confirmed to state supreme court". Our Weekly (Los Angeles, CA). January 22, 2015. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Leondra Kruger '01, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, Delivered the 2015 Bernard Witkin Lecture". Yale Law School News. November 12, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  14. ^ Little, Rory (January 12, 2015). "What can we learn from Justice Leondra Kruger's arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court?". SCOCA Blog. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  15. ^ Dolan, Maura (November 25, 2014). "Brown again surprises with court nominee". Los Angeles Times.
  16. ^ Mintz, Howard (December 22, 2014). "California Supreme Court: Leondra Kruger easily confirmed as new justice". mercurynews.com. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  17. ^ Schaffer, Scott; Brekke, Dan (November 24, 2015). "Gov. Brown's Surprise Pick to Fill Supreme Court Vacancy". KQED News. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  18. ^ "Governor Brown to Swear in Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar and Leondra Kruger to the California Supreme Court". 22 December 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  19. ^ Egelko, Bob (July 28, 2017). "Why you should care about who will sit on California's Supreme Court". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  20. ^ Johnson, J. Edward (1963). History of the California Supreme Court: The Justices 1850-1900, vol 1 (PDF). San Francisco, CA: Bender Moss Co. p. 54. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 27, 2016. Retrieved August 14, 2017. Murray had been appointed to the Court at age twenty-six, was Chief Justice at thirty, and died when he was thirty-two.
  21. ^ Kaiser, David. "Opinion Analysis: People v. Buza". SCOCAblog.
  22. ^ Barry v. State Bar of California, 2016 S.O.S. 45.
  23. ^ "Supreme Court Says: Anti-SLAPP Not Dependent on Subject Matter Jurisdiction". Metropolitan News-Enterprise. January 6, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  24. ^ Savage, David (2020-04-02). "Biden says he'll put a black woman on Supreme Court. This California justice is a leading candidate". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  25. ^ Fox, Blake (2021-02-22). "This Black Jew Could Be The Next Supreme Court Justice". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  26. ^ Rudin, Ken (2009-05-28). "The 'Jewish Seat' On The Supreme Court". NPR. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  27. ^ Dolan, Maura (June 1, 2018). "As Gov. Jerry Brown ponders a California Supreme Court vacancy, one of his earlier appointees defies expectations". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  28. ^ Miller, Cheryl (March 2, 2016). "California Justice Leondra Kruger Gives Birth to Daughter". The Recorder. ALM Media Properties, LLC. Retrieved September 30, 2017.

External links[edit]

Media related to Leondra Kruger at Wikimedia Commons


Legal offices
Preceded by
Joyce L. Kennard
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California