The Ninth Judicial Circuit
Historical Society

preserves and educates about the vibrant legal history of the West,
and about the vital importance of an independent judiciary.

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Oral History Spotlight

Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr.

A distinguished jurist on the Ninth Circuit Court since 2006, Milan D. Smith, Jr. comes from a rich family tradition of public service going back four generations.

As a young man,  he met Richard Nixon, John and Bobby Kennedy, and George Wallace. He probably is one of the few people who can say he saw Nikita Khrushchev holding a goose! Evelyn Woods, the matriarch of speed-reading, hired him as a demonstrator and taught him herself. As a result of legislation vetoed by Governor Pete Wilson, Judge Smith resigned from the Fair Employment & Housing Commission due to its inability to recompense women seeking assistance. Unbeknownst to him at the time, 20 years later this moral stance would end up helping him get appointed to the Ninth Circuit bench.

These are some of the many defining experiences Judge Smith shares with us in his oral history, as interviewed by fellow Ninth Circuit jurist and friend, Judge Randy Smith. Watch the interview here, or read its transcript below!