LILLIE, Mildred (1915-2002)
Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 12/18/2018 at 11:44:52
Mildred (Kluckhohn) Lillie Falcone
(January 25, 1915 – October 27, 2002)
[Information from Wikipedia and Find A Grave]
Mildred Lillie was a California judge whom President Richard Nixon seriously considered for the Supreme Court of the United States in 1971. Lillie's potential candidacy for the high court was ended by an "unqualified" rating from the American Bar Association.
Lille was born in Ida Grove, Iowa, but moved with her mother to California's San Joaquin Valley as a child following her parent's failed marriage. She worked at a local cannery during the Great Depression and later as both a cook and a floor detective at Sears to earn her tuition to law school.
Lillie obtained her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of California. She served as an Assistant United States Attorney from 1942 through 1946 and then entered the private practice of law for about two years until Republican Governor Earl Warren appointed her to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1947. She was next appointed to Los Angeles County Superior Court in 1949. In 1958 Lillie, a Democrat, was appointed to the Second District Court of Appeal by Republican Governor Goodwin Knight.
In 1969 President Richard Nixon nominated Clement Haynsworth for a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court created by the resignation of Abe Fortas. Haynesworth was rejected by the United States Senate. In 1970 Nixon nominated G. Harold Carswell, who also was rejected by the Senate. Nixon then nominated Harry Blackman, who was confirmed.
Nixon was shortly afterward faced with two new vacancies on the high bench due to the retirements of John Marshall Harlan and Hugo Black in 1971.
In spite of the rejections of Haynesworth and Carswell, Nixon announced that he would nominate Lillie and Hershel Friday to the high bench. Neither was well regarded. Friday was a former member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates; Lillie was then a little-known judge on an intermediate state appellate court in California. After the ABA reported both Friday and Lillie as unqualified, Nixon nominated Lewis Powell and William H. Rehnquist for the vacancies instead, and both were confirmed.
Widowed from her first husband, Cameron Lillie, Lillie remarried A.V. Falcone, a leading figure in the Los Angeles area Catholic Church. In part due to their charitable endeavors, Lillie earned an appointment as a Papal Dame. The Los Angeles County Law Library is named after Lillie.
Lillie remained on the Second District Court of Appeal long after she was considered for the U.S. Supreme Court, until she died of cancer in 2002 at the age of 87. At her death, Lillie held the distinction in California of serving the longest as an appellate judge (44 years) and judicial officer (56 years), ending a career which saw her become the youngest judge assigned to sit in criminal court in Los Angeles County. Lillie lived to see Sandra Day O'Connor become the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice in 1981.
[Find A Grave, Holy Cross Cemetery, Los Angeles County, CA, shows that in 1947 Mildred Kluckhohn married Cameron Leo Lillie (1907-1959). After Cameron's death, Mildred married Alfredo Victor Falcone in 1966. Both Mildred and Victor are buried in Holy Cross Cemetery as well as Mildred's mother, Florence Kluckhohn (1879-1968).]
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