California Appellate Court Legacy Project

The Legacy Project recounts the stories and preserves the rich judicial history of California judges, courts, and law through the voices of the justices who helped shape the development of California law in the 20th century.

The project was developed in 2006 as part of statewide efforts undertaken to commemorate the Centennial of the California Courts of Appeal in 2005.


"The Backbone of the Justice System" is a compilation of clips from Legacy Project interviews.

2024 Introduction and Milestones
Introduction to Part I Part I Part II

The oral history archive comprises more than 150 videotaped interviews of retired justices of the Courts of Appeal, as well as active justices who may be nearing retirement. Interviewers were selected from within the state's appellate branch, and in most instances the interviews were conducted by a justice who currently serves in the retired justice's former court.

The interviews touched upon a host of personal and professional recollections, including childhood and youth, education, law school years, judicial careers and other government service, judicial philosophies, notable opinions, concurrences and dissents, significant historical events, and the attitudes, events, and experiences that have shaped the justices' perspectives.

The resulting archive is a historical record of the personal experiences of individual justices and the changes that have emerged over the years in the California judicial system and the legal profession.

Staff of the Judicial Council of California continue to schedule interviews with justices as they retire from the bench. See below for photos, videos, transcripts, and biographies of the retired justices that have been interviewed to date. They are listed by the appellate district in which a justice served and sorted in alphabetical order.

A copy of each DVD is held by the California Judicial Center Library (CJCL) in San Francisco, along with biographical material related to each justice and other documents and photographs relevant to the Legacy Project. Selected DVD titles are also available in some of the libraries of the other appellate districts. To purchase copies of the DVDs, please send requests to Legacy staff at

Appellate Court Legacy Project Committee
Hon. Judith L. Haller (Chair), Hon. Patricia Bamattre-ManoukianHon. Andrea L. HochHon. Sandra L. MarguliesHon. Laurence D. Rubin, Hon. Rosendo Peña, Jr., and Ms. Christa Penfold

Legacy Unit
(415) 865-4250