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Roger J. Traynor

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Early Life and Education:
– Born in Park City, Utah, to impoverished Irish immigrants.
– Attended UC Berkeley, earning B.A., M.A., Ph.D., and J.D. degrees.
– Won a scholarship for excellent grades in his first year.
– Served as editor-in-chief of the California Law Review.
– Admitted to the State Bar of California in 1927.

Academics and Politics:
– Wrote articles on taxation at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall.
– Became a full-time professor at Boalt Hall in 1936.
– Served as Acting Dean of Boalt Hall in 1939.
– Consulted for the California State Board of Equalization and the U.S. Treasury Department.
– Played a key role in modernizing California’s tax regime.

California Supreme Court:
– Appointed to the California Supreme Court by Governor Culbert Olson.
– Sworn in as an Associate Justice in 1940 and later appointed Chief Justice in 1964 by Governor Pat Brown.
– Authored over 900 opinions that transformed California into a progressive jurisdiction.
– His opinions are mandatory reading for American law students.
– Notable cases include Bernhard v. Bank of America and Escola v. Coca Cola Bottling Co.

Recognition, Reputation, and Criticism:
– Authored over 900 opinions during his tenure.
– His decisions were frequently cited by state courts nationwide.
– Honored with membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
– Created true strict liability in product liability cases, a significant contribution to American law.
– Faced criticism for his liberal tendencies, judicial activism, and progressive decisions.

Retirement and Personal Life:
– Retired in 1970 to preserve retirement benefits.
– Became chairman of the National News Council.
– Passed away in his Berkeley home due to cancer.
– Married Madeleine Emilie Lackman in 1933 and had three sons.
– Legacy remains influential in American legal history.

Roger J. Traynor (Wikipedia)

Roger John Traynor (February 12, 1900 – May 14, 1983) was the 23rd Chief Justice of California (1964–1970) and an associate justice of the Supreme Court of California from 1940 to 1964. Previously, he had served as a Deputy Attorney General of California under Earl Warren, and an Acting Dean and Professor of UC Berkeley School of Law. He is widely considered to be one of the most creative and influential judges and legal scholars of his time.

Roger J. Traynor
23rd Chief Justice of California
In office
September 1, 1964 – February 2, 1970
Appointed byPat Brown
Preceded byPhil S. Gibson
Succeeded byDonald R. Wright
Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court
In office
August 13, 1940 – September 1, 1964
Appointed byCulbert Olson
Preceded byPhil S. Gibson
Succeeded byStanley Mosk
Personal details
Roger John Traynor

February 12, 1900
Park City, Utah, U.S.
DiedMay 14, 1983(1983-05-14) (aged 83)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Madeline E. Lackman
(m. 1933)
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley (BA, MA, PhD, JD)

A jurist noted for liberalism and activism, Traynor's 30-year career as California's 77th Justice coincided with demographic, social, and governmental growth in California and in the United States of America. Traynor believed (in the words of his biographer, G. Edward White) that "the increased presence of government in American life was a necessary and beneficial phenomenon." After his retirement from the California Supreme Court, Traynor spent the last years of his life as a professor at the UC Hastings College of Law.

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