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Mildred Loree Lillie Edit Profile


Mildred Loree Lillie, American judge. Bar: California 1938, United States District Court 1942, Supreme Court of the United States Court 1961. Recipient award Mademoiselle Magazine, 1947, volunteer activist award, 1976, Cardinal McIntyre award Catholic Press Club, 1981, Person of Year award Metro. News., 1983; named Woman of Year Los Angeles Times, 1952, Woman of Year Museum and Science and Industry, Los Angeles, 1980.


Lillie, Mildred Loree was born on January 25, 1915 in Ida Grove, Iowa, United States. Daughter of Ottmar August and Florence Elizabeth (Martin) Kluckhohn.


Bachelor of Arts California, Berkeley, 1935. Juris Doctor, University California, Berkeley, 1938. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Pepperdine University, 1981.

Doctor of Laws (honorary), Western States University, 1966.


Lillie's potential candidacy for the high court was ended by an "unqualified" rating from the American Bar Association. She worked at a local cannery during the Great Depression and later as both a cook and a floor detective at Sears to earn her tuition to law school. Lillie obtained her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of California.

She served as an Assistant United States Attorney from 1942 to 1946 and then entered the private practice of law for about two years until Republican Governor Earl Warren appointed her to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1947. She was next appointed to Los Angeles County Superior Court in 1949. In 1958 Lillie, a Democrat, was appointed to the Second District Court of Appeal by Republican Governor Goodwin Knight.

In 1969 President Richard Nixon nominated Clement Haynsworth for a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court created by the resignation of Abe Fortas. Haynsworth was rejected by the United States Senate. In 1970 Nixon nominated G. Harrold Carswell, who also was rejected by the Senate.

Nixon then nominated Harry Blackmun, who was confirmed. Nixon was shortly afterward faced with two new vacancies on the high bench due to the retirements of John Marshall Harlan and Hugo Black in 1971. In spite of the rejections of Haynsworth and Carswell, Nixon announced that he would nominate Lillie and Hershel Friday to the high bench.

Neither was well regarded. After the ABA reported both Friday and Lillie as unqualified, Nixon nominated Lewis Powell and William H. Rehnquist for the vacancies instead, and both were confirmed. In part due to their charitable endeavors, Lillie earned an appointment as a Papal Dame.

The Los Angeles County Law Library is named after Lillie. Lillie remained on the Second District Court of Appeal long after she was considered for the U.S. Supreme Court, until she died of cancer in 2002 at the age of 87. At her death, Lillie held the distinction in California of serving the longest as an appellate judge (44 years) and judicial officer (56 years), bookending a career which saw her become the youngest judge assigned to sit in criminal court in Los Angeles County.

Lillie lived to see Sandra Day O'Connor become the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice in 1981.


  • Bar: California 1938, United States District Court 1942, Supreme Court of the United States Court 1961.


Widowed from her first husband, Cameron Lillie, Lillie remarried A. V. Falcone, a leading figure in the Los Angeles area Catholic Church.


Board directors National Conference of Christians and Jews, Los Angeles, since 1985, recipient Humanitarian award, 1991. Member Town Hall, Los Angeles, since 1985. Member board visitors Pepperdine University School Law, Malibu, California, since 1985.

Member American Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, State Bar California, Federal Bar Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, California Judges Association (committee chairman, President award 1996), Women Lawyers Association (Ernestine Stahlhut award 1969), Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association (Appellate Justice of Year 1986), Los Angeles Area Chamber of Chamber (board directors 1975-1983), Boalt Hall Alumni Association (Citation award 1985), National Association Women Judges, Ebell Club, Los Angeles Athletic Club, Soroptimists.


  • Other Interests

    Avocations: painting, cooking, writing.


Married Cameron Leo Lillie, March 18, 1947 (deceased April 1959). Married A.V. Falcone, August 27, 1966 (deceased August 1996).

Ottmar August Kluckhohn

Florence Elizabeth (Martin) Kluckhohn

Cameron Leo Lillie

A.V. Falcone