Transcript of clip from Judge Johanna Fitzpatrick interview

I guess you could say my biggest success at Legal Aid is what got me on the bench to begin with. At Catholic we had a law professor named Florence Roisman, who was a property person who was just tremendously active in terms of her approach to cases. And in those days you had all kinds of due process, equal protection issues, Goldberg v. Kelly kinds of issues that we were very attuned to at our Legal Aid clinic at Catholic, and it wasn’t the traditional property courses that you took where you’re learning–. I had to learn those on the bar exam, because we really did different things. In Fairfax I had a case in which a young woman had been evicted from the public housing in Fairfax Co. and my training from Florence Roisman said, ooh, they have due process problems. So we went to court and in the lower court, the district court, the trial court disagreed and entered judgment and evicted her, and I said note my appeal, which nobody ever does for those things. So we got to circuit court and on the other side of the case was Sen. Abe Brault [Adelard L. Brault], who was the Democratic senator, and I think it was Sen. Brault and somebody in his firm but they represented the housing authority. We took it up there and I made all these arguments, which I don’t think anybody has ever made in Fairfax Co. before or since–thank you, Florence Roisman–and I believe it was Judge Keith [M. Langhorne Keith] agreed with me, and they had to revamp their entire eviction procedures for poor people in the county. About, I don’t know, a year or two later I got a call to ask if I wanted to be a substitute judge [Laughs] from the chief judge of the court at that time, and I think Sen. Brault had called because he really did think it was time they put some women on the bench. So I became the first woman substitute judge in Fairfax Co. and then two years later I went on the juvenile bench.