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Rose Bird (1936–99) was a lawyer and jurist and served as the chief justice of the California Supreme Court from 1977 to 1987. She was removed from her position on the California Supreme Court by a recall election. Her recall was contentious and served to illustrate the increasing [Page 199]“culture wars” in California politics as well as the rise in accusations of “activist judges” whom some activists and voters believed were legislating from the bench. Her strong opposition to the death penalty and equally strong support for gun control were particularly influential in recall efforts against her.
Bird was born in Tucson, Arizona, on November 2, 1936. After her father's death in the early 1940s, her family relocated to New York. Bird eventually attended Long Island ...