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Lourdes G. Baird: 1935—: Judge Biography

Appointed U.s. Attorney By Republicans, Confronted With Variety Of High Profile Cases

Lourdes G. Baird: 1935—: Judge.

Lourdes G. Baird became one of the highest-ranking Hispanic women in the U.S. Justice Department when she was appointed U.S. attorney for the Central District of California in 1990. The post involved supervising cases in a jurisdiction that was the largest in the United States at the time, comprised of seven counties with more than 12 million citizens. During her time in office, Baird played a role in the Justice Depart-ment's civil trial against the Los Angeles police officers who assaulted Rodney King. In 1992 she left the job for a federal judgeship with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court, where she has continued her involvement in high-profile legal challenges in the Los Angeles area.

Baird was born on May 12, 1935, in Quito, Ecuador. Her father moved the family of seven children to Los Angeles a year later, where she attended Roman Catholic parochial schools in the city not far from the family home on Van Ness Avenue. She remembered her female-only high school, Immaculate Heart, as a particularly encouraging environment. "There's something in retrospect that was great about going to an all-girls high school," she told Henry Weinstein in a Los Angeles Times interview years later. Weinstein noted that the school "was run by a highly independent order of nuns, who later clashed with the Los Angeles Archdiocese," and Baird affirmed this. "Those nuns were so independent, even in the 1950s," she told the newspaper.

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