Event to mark Todd’s rise as first female Pa. chief justice

Pennsylvania state Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd is about to be formally installed as the state's chief justice. She is the first woman to hold that office.

Debra Todd, seen from behind, administers the oath of office to Gov. Josh Shapiro.

Josh Shapiro accompanied by his wife Lori Shapiro and children, takes the oath of office to become Pennsylvania's 48th governor, administered by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Debra Todd, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Pennsylvania state Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd will be formally installed as chief justice in a ceremony set for Friday afternoon in a downtown Pittsburgh hotel.

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.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Todd lives in Pittsburgh and has three children.

Get the WHYY app!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal