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Pasadena’s Own California Supreme Court Justice Leondra R. Kruger Honored by Local Assemblymember

Published on Wednesday, February 28, 2024 | 6:30 am

Justice Leondra R. Kruger, a Pasadena native and member of the California Supreme Court, was lauded as the 41st Assembly District’s ‘Unsung Hero’ by Assemblymember Chris Holden and the California Legislative Black Caucus. 

Recognized for her exceptional achievements and profound influence on the community, Justice Kruger epitomizes the essence of an Unsung Hero – an individual whose remarkable contributions often go unnoticed or uncelebrated, a statement from Holden’s office said.

“Justice Kruger is a true trailblazer and someone that future generations can look to as an example of hard work, discipline, and all-around excellence,” Assemblymember Holden said.

The Black History Month Unsung Hero Award, established by the California Legislative Black Caucus, aims to honor individuals who have selflessly dedicated themselves to their respective districts. 

Kruger was born in Glendale to Audrey Reid, who emigrated from Jamaica, and Leon Kruger, an American Jew whose ancestors traced their origins to Europe. She grew up in South Pasadena and went to Polytechnic School in Pasadena, where she became a National Merit Scholar. Her journey to prominence began with her bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, followed by her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. She served as a law clerk to Judge David S. Tatel of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and later to Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court.

During her tenure in the Office of the Solicitor General, Kruger argued 12 cases in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the federal government. In 2013 and in 2014, she received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, the Department’s highest award for employee performance.

Justice Kruger had previously been in private practice, where she specialized in appellate and Supreme Court litigation, and taught as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

In November 2014, Justice Kruger was appointed to the California State Supreme Court and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments the next month. She was sworn in on January 5, 2015 and became the court’s second African-American woman justice, following Janice Rogers Brown.

“By enduring all that it takes to become the second African American woman and third youngest person ever to be appointed to the California Supreme Court, she is paving the way for upcoming young and diverse leaders and showing them that they are capable of more than they ever imagined,” Holden said.

Justice Leondra R. Kruger is married to Brian Hauck, a partner at Jenner & Block in San Francisco. Her young son attended her swearing-in ceremony to the California Supreme Court. About a year later, she gave birth to her second child, a girl.

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