Therese M. Stewart

Therese M. Stewart

Presiding Justice
Division Two
Since 2014

Presiding Justice Stewart was appointed to the First Appellate District in June 2014 by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. She was appointed presiding justice of Division Two by Governor Gavin Newsom and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments in November 2022.

Before joining the Court, Justice Stewart served for 12 years as the Chief Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco where she oversaw the City’s diverse litigation practice. In that capacity, she managed, under the City Attorney, a law office of about 300 employees, including about 200 attorneys. During her tenure as Chief Deputy, she also litigated a number of groundbreaking cases on behalf of the City, including In re Marriage Cases and Perry v. Brown.

Justice Stewart began her career as an associate at the San Francisco law firm of Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin, where she litigated a wide range of business cases at the trial and appellate level. She spent the first 20 years of her career at Howard, Rice, becoming a partner in 1988.

Justice Stewart also served on the Board and ultimately as President of the Bar Association of San Francisco in the 1990s, co-founding the School-To-College program, which mentors San Francisco youth with the goal of enabling them to obtain a college education. She has served as well on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, the Historical Society of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the American Bar Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Commission, the Northern District of California Delegation to the Ninth Circuit, and various Bar Association of San Francisco and California State Bar Committees. From 2007 through 2009, she served on the Public Information and Education Task Force of the Judicial Council’s Commission on Impartial Courts.

The professional and community activities Justice Stewart has engaged in since joining the bench include serving as an adjunct professor co-teaching with Ninth Circuit Judge Marsha Berzon a Constitutional Cases seminar at U.C. Law School San Francisco (formerly Hastings Law School); a member of the CJER Appellate Practice Curriculum Committee and chair of its Appellate Justice Orientation and Appellate Justice Institute workgroups; faculty for various CJER judicial education programs; co-chair of the California Judges Association’s LGBT Judges Committee; a liaison for the First Appellate District to the American Bar Association’s Judicial Intern Opportunity Program; a liaison for the First Appellate District to the Bar Association of San Francisco Appellate Practice Committee. Justice Stewart has also been a speaker at events sponsored by the California Judges Association, the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association, the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, the National Women Lawyers Association, the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Alameda County Bar Association.

Justice Stewart received her B.A. with distinction from Cornell University in 1978 and graduated Order of the Coif from U.C. Berkeley School of Law in 1981. She clerked for Judge Phyllis A. Kravitch on the Eleventh Circuit from 1981 to 1982. Justice Stewart is a third generation San Franciscan and lives with her wife Carole Scagnetti in San Francisco. Their daughter, Natasha, is a public relations professional and independent filmmaker.

Justice Stewart received many awards for her work on behalf of women, racial and ethnic minorities and LGBTQ people, including most notably the ABA Commission on Women’s Margaret Brent award.