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Immigrants Of The Day: Justice Joyce Kennard of Indonesia, James Barrett Reston of Scotland, and Dorothy Jacobs Bellanca of Latvia

by Kevin R. Johnson

Justice Joyce Kennard (Indonesia)

Kennard Joyce Luther Kennard (b. May 6, 1941) is an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court. Born in a Japanese concentration camp in the province of West Java in Indonesia, English is not her native language. Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian in 1989, Justice Kennard is the longest-serving justice sitting on the Court, having been retained by California's voters three times.

Justice Kennard immigrated to Los Angeles in 1961. In 1974, she graduated from the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California, where she also earned her Bachelor's Degree. Justice Kennard worked as a secretary to pay for her education.

Appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1986, Kennard was elevated in 1987 to the California Superior Court and elevated again, in 1988, to the California Court of Appeal. Finally, in 1989, Governor George Deukmejian appointed her to the California Supreme Court. Upon taking her oath, Justice Kennard became the second woman and the first Asian American to serve as a justice on the Court.

During her time on the bench, Justice Kennard has authored numerous high-profile opinions, the best-known of which is Kasky v. Nike, 27 Cal. 4th 939 (2002).  In that case, the California Supreme Court held that Nike could not claim a First Amendment "commercial free speech" defense when charged with lying about sweatshop conditions in its overseas manufacturing plants.

Justice Kennard has a reputation for aggressive questioning during oral argument.  She often asks the first question in a given case.

Justice Kennard's leg having been amputated when she was a teenager and she Kennard walks with the help of a prosthesis.

Justice Kennard has been the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees and is very involved in her community.

June 30, 2008 | Permalink

James Barrett Reston (Scotland)

Reston James Barrett (Scotty) Reston (1909-95) was a prominent American journalist. Associated for many years with The New York Times, he became one of the most widely-read journalist of his era.

Reston was born in Clydebank, Scotland.  His family immigrated to the United States in 1920. He sailed with his mother and sister to New York as steerage passengers on board the SS Mobile and they were inspected at Ellis Island.

Reston joined the Associated Press in 1934. He moved to the London bureau of the New York Times in 1939, but returned to New York in 1940. In 1942, he took leave of absence to establish a U.S. Office of War Information in London. Rejoining the Times in 1945, Reston was assigned to Washington, D.C., as national correspondent. In 1948, he was appointed diplomatic correspondent, followed by bureau chief and columnist in 1953.

Reston served as associate editor of the Times from 1964 to 1968, executive editor from 1968 to 1969, and vice president from 1969 to 1974. He wrote a nationally syndicated column from 1974 until 1987, when he became a senior columnist.

Reston interviewed many of the world's leaders and wrote extensively about the leading events and issues of his time. He interviewed President John F. Kennedy immediately after the 1961 Vienna Summit with Nikita Khrushchev on the heels of the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Reston won the Pulitzer Prize twice, in 1945 and 1957. His books include Prelude to Victory (1942), The Artillery of the Press (1967), and Sketches in the Sand (1967).  In 1991, he published a memoir Deadline.

July 30, 2008 | Permalink

Dorothy Jacobs Bellanca (Latvia)

Born in Latvia, Dorothy Jacobs Bellanca (189 1946) was an American labor activist.  Emigrating in 1900, she went to work in a factory at age 13 and became an organizer for the United Garment Workers of America, leading a strike of fellow buttonhole makers in 1912.  She was an early organizer for Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) after its split from the United Garment Workers in 1914. She became a board member in 1916 and became its first full-time female organizer in 1917.

During the Great Depression, Bellanca was a vocal advocate for unemployed garment workers. She was a member of the New York City Mayor's Commission on Unity, and served on several state commissions to end racial discrimination in the workplace. A supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, she helped to organize New York State's branch of the American Labor Party.

Bellanca became vice president of the ACWA in 1934, and held that position until her death in 1946. She devoted 30 years to organizing campaigns and several major strikes.

July 29, 2008 | Permalink

These posts were orginally posted on the ImmigrationProf Blog here, here and here.

About The Author

Kevin R. Johnson is currently Dean, Professor of Law and Chicana/o Studies, and the Mabie-Apallas Public Interest Law Chair holder at the University of California at Davis. He is also one of the editors of ImmigrationProf Blog.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.