Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Shirley Hufstedler (1980–1981): Secretary of Education

Shirley Hufstedler was born in Denver, Colorado, on August 24, 1925. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of New Mexico in 1945 and a Bachelor of Law from Stanford in 1949.

Hufstedler practiced private law in Los Angeles from 1950 to 1960. She then worked as special legal consultant to the attorney general of California (1960-1961). Thereafter, Hufstedler became a judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court (1961), associate justice of the California Court of Appeals (1966), and judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1968-1980).

From 1980 to 1981, Hufstedler served in the cabinet of President Jimmy Carter as secretary of education. Following her time in the Carter administration, Hufstedler returned to her law practice and taught as a visiting professor at the University of California at Irvine; she then did likewise at the University of Iowa and the University of Vermont.

Hufstedler was the Phleger Professor of Law at the Stanford School of Law (1982) and in 1996 became a Visiting Fellow of St. Catherine's College, Oxford, England. She later became a senior counsel of Morrison and Foerster.