Justice Debra Todd to Become First Female Chief Justice of PA Supreme Court

Pennsylvania state Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd will be formally installed as chief justice in a ceremony Friday in Pittsburgh. Todd will be the first female Chief Justice in the 300-year history of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The daughter of a steelworker who grew up in Ellwood City, Todd has been serving for months as the first woman to be the court’s top-ranking jurist. She administered the oath of office to Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro in Harrisburg on Tuesday.

Chief Justice Max Baer’s death in late September 2022 elevated Todd to the court’s top spot because she has served longer than any of her colleagues.

A Democrat, Todd was elected to the high court in 2007 after eight years on Superior Court, where she handled civil and criminal appeals from county courts. The 65-year-old graduated from Pitt Law, and she has worked as a lawyer for 18 years, including five years as a litigator for USX Corp.

Todd lives in Pittsburgh and has three children.