First Black Female Judge Nominated to San Francisco Appeals Court

(CN) – With a nomination by Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday, Judge Teri Jackson could become the first black female justice in the San Francisco-based First Appellate District.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Teri Jackson. (Photo courtesy of the court)

Jackson, 63, is currently a trial judge in San Francisco, where she served as presiding judge from 2017 until this past January. Gov. Gray Davis appointed her in 2002, making her the first black woman to sit on the San Francisco bench.

As a trial judge, Jackson presided over a criminal calendar before taking over the court’s complex civil litigation department. More recently, Jackson is overseeing an upcoming trial to determine PG&E’s liability for the 2017 Tubbs Fire.

In a statement Tuesday, Jackson said she is “honored and privileged to continue to serve this great state as an appellate justice.”

Born in San Francisco to parents from Louisiana, Jackson earned her law degree from Georgetown University. “I went back east to go to law school, but after law school, I wanted to come back here,” she told San Francisco Attorney magazine in a 2018 interview.

Along with her sister Portia, Jackson and her parents were the first black family to buy a house in Daly City, and the discrimination they faced left an indelible impression on her.

“For a long time, we all slept in the same bed. If they should firebomb, if they should start shooting, my mom wanted to be able to get to her children quickly so we could escape. That’s how we grew up,” she told the magazine for the San Francisco Bar Association, noting that over the years, her parents became best friends with the neighbors who once tried to prevent them from moving in.

After a three-year stint in the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office in the 1980s, Jackson served as an assistant district attorney in San Francisco from 1984 to 1997. She then worked for the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP until 2002. She currently teaches law at the University of San Francisco and UC Hastings College of the Law.

Jackson must still be approved by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, a three-member panel comprised of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Senior Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline of the First Appellate District.

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