Monday, May 26, 2008

On May 26

On this day in ...
... 1966, on the 1st day of Guyana's independence from Britain, the new state's 1st constitution came into effect. Sandwiched on the northern coast of South America, between Venezuela and Suriname, the country remains a Republic within the Commonwealth of Nations.
... 1916, Phyllis Norton was born. While an undergraduate at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, she married Grant B. Cooper, whom she described as "a well-known trial lawyer." She pursued that same career path; Phyllis Norton Cooper earned her J.D. from USC Law School in 1938. In 2001 she wrote of her law studies:

Perhaps one of the reasons we felt so empowered was the support we received from female graduates who visited us on campus and encourage us to succeed ... women like Georgia Bullock, who graduated in 1914 and became the first woman appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court; 1913 graduate Litta Belle Hibben Campbell, the first woman to graduate No. 1 in the class and the first female deputy district attorney in the nation; 1914 graduate May Lahey, who served on the probate court; 1916 graduate Mabel Walker Willebrandt [far left], who became an assistant U.S. attorney general; and 1918 graduate Anita V. Robbins, who became the first female deputy public defender. They inspired us by the example of their lives in the law.
Herself described as a "trailblazer for women in law," Norton Cooper joined her husband in representing Sirhan Sirhan, who would be convicted of the 1968 assassination of U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy the night of his victory in the California Democratic Presidential primary. (credit for photo of Willebrandt, "an honest, determined U.S. Assistant Attorney General in charge of prohibition," standing behind President Calvin Coolidge)

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