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Dorothy Wright Nelson

Dorothy Wright Nelson, American federal judge. Bar: California 1954.


  • Nelson, Dorothy Wright was born on September 30, 1928 in San Pedro, California, United States. Daughter of Harry Earl and Lorna Amy Wright.

  • Education

    • Bachelor, University of California at Los Angeles, 1950. Juris Doctor, University of California at Los Angeles, 1953. Master of Laws, University Southern California, 1956.

      Doctor of Laws (honorary), Western State University College Law, 1980. Doctor of Laws (honorary), University Southern California, 1983. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Georgetown University, 1988.

      Doctor of Laws (honorary), Whittier University, 1989. Doctor of Laws (honorary), University Santa Clara, 1990. Doctor of Laws (honorary), University San Diego, 1997.

      Doctor of Laws (honorary), Pepperdine University School of Law, 2003.


    • Research associate fellow University Southern California, 1953—1956, instructor, 1957, assistant professor, 1958—1961, associate professor, 1961—1967, professor, since 1967, associate dean., 1965—1967, dean., 1967—1980. Judge United States Court Appeals (9th circuit), 1979—1995, senior judge, since 1995. Committee to consider standards for admission to practice in federal courts Judicial Conference United States, 1976—1979.

      Consultant project STAR Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. Select committee on internal procedures California Supreme Court, since 1987. Co-chair Sino-American Seminar on Mediation and Arbitration, Beijing, 1992.

    Major achievements

    • Bar: California 1954.


    • Contributor articles to professional journals. Author: Judicial Adminstration and The Administration of Justice, 1973. Author: (with Christopher Goelz and Meredith Watts) Federal Ninth Circuit Civil Appellate Practice, 1995.


    Co-chair Confronting Myths in Education for President Nixon's White House Conference on Children, President Carter's Commission for Pension Policy, 1974—1980. President Reagon's Madison Trust. Member National Spiritual Assembly Bahais United States, 1967—2009.

    Board directors Dialogue on Transition to a Global Society, Weinacht, Switzerland, 1992. Board visiting United States Air Force Academy, 1978. Board directors Council on Legal Education for Professional Responsibility, 1971—1980, Constitutional Right Foundation, American National Institute for Social Advancement.

    Advisory board National Center for State Courts, 1971—1976. Advisory committee to promote equality for woman and men in courts National Judicial Education Program. Board directors Pacific Oaks College, Childrens School & Research Center, 1996—1998.

    Advisory board World Law Institute, since 1997, Tahirih Justice Institute, Washington, since 1998. Chairman board Western Justice Center, since 1986. Chair 9th Circuit Standing Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution, since 1998.

    Fellow: Davenport College, American Bar Foundation. Member: American Bar Association (section on judicial administration, chairman committee on education in judicial administration 1973-1989, D'Alemberte/Raven award 2000), Association American Law Schools (chairman committee education in judicial administration), American Judicature Society (board directors, Justice award 1985), Bar California (board directors continuing education bar commission 1967-1974), Order of Coif (national vice president 1974-1976), Phi Beta Kappa.


    • Married James Frank Nelson, December 27, 1950. Children: Franklin Wright, Lorna Jean.
    • father: Harry Earl Lorna
    • mother: Lorna
    • spouse: James Frank Nelson
    • children: Franklin Wright Nelson
    • Lorna Jean Nelson
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    Born September 30, 1928