President Jimmy Carter appointed Fletcher to the bench in 1979 and she never retired. Judge Fletcher, who graduated from UW Law School in 1956, was an indefatigable jurist who championed the constitution and affirmative action. The fact that she faced and overcame discrimination at almost every point in her legal career helped shape her perspective. She was one of the first female partners at a major law firm and just the second woman appointed to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court bench.
Jenny Durkan, ’85, U.S. Attorney for the Western region of Washington state, told the Los Angeles Times: “When I was growing up there were not very many women lawyers in the community. [Betty] was one of the first and most accomplished—and a real inspiration to me.”—Julie Garner