Madame Justice Debra Todd
In 2007, Debra Todd became the first Democratic Woman in history to be elected to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. She is now in line to become Pennsylvania’s first female Chief Justice.
Justice Todd was born in Ellwood City, PA, the daughter of the late Harry and Blanche McCloskey. Her father was a steelworker at J&L Steel. She is married to Attorney Steve Todd, and they have three adult children and four grandchildren. Justice Todd received her B.A. Degree with Honors from Chatham College; J.D. Degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she was a member of the Law Review; and LL.M. Degree in the Judicial Process from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Prior to serving on the bench, Justice Todd was a trial attorney in Pittsburgh for eighteen years, first as an in-house litigator for U.S. Steel Corporation, and later in private practice with an emphasis on complex civil litigation. After serving for eight years as a Judge on the PA Superior Court, she commenced her tenure on the Supreme Court in January 2008.
Justice Todd is an elected member of the American Law Institute and the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, and is an alumna and former board member of Leadership Pittsburgh. She is a member of the Allegheny County, PA and American Bar Associations, and is a fellow of the Allegheny County and PA Bar Foundations. She is a member of the National and International Associations of Women Judges and the Women’s Bar Association of Western PA. Justice Todd is a frequent lecturer and panelist for continuing legal education programs on appellate practice and procedure, ethics, elder justice, child abuse, and veterans issues.
In 2007, Justice Todd was named the Outstanding Elected Democratic Woman of the Year by the Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women. She also received an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Chatham University; The Legal Intelligencer Women in the Profession-Woman of the Year Award; The Cornerstone Award in Law from Chatham University; the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Philip Werner Amram Award; the University of Pittsburgh Law Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award; the University of Pittsburgh’s 225th Anniversary Medallion; the Tribute to Women Leadership Award in Business & Professional Services from the Greater Pittsburgh YWCA; the Pitt Law Women’s Association’s Marjorie Matson Woman of the Year Award; and the Amen Corner’s Judge Robert E. Dauer Award for Judicial Leadership and Excellence.
In 2016, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape awarded Justice Todd its first Visionary Award, recognizing her significant impact in the lives of survivors of sexual violence. Most recently, Justice Todd was honored by the Women’s Bar Association of Western Pennsylvania with its Susan B. Anthony Award, for promoting equality in the legal profession.
Justice Todd served as Chair of the Supreme Court’s Elder Law Task Force, devoted to making life better for our Commonwealth’s seniors. She represents the Supreme Court in the leadership of the Advisory Council on Elder Justice in the Courts, the Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Fairness, and the Pennsylvania Veterans Courts. She is a board member of the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, and is a Past President of Pittsburgh Action Against Rape.
On November 7, 2017, she will stand for Retention (a Yes/No Vote) on the General Election Ballot.