Profiles of American Heroes: Interview with Justice Eileen Moore
By Eileen MooreCandidate for Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 4, Division 3
This information is provided by the candidate
Interview by Judge James Brandlin Los Angeles Superior Court (JB)JB: Justice Moore, thank you for allowing me to interview you for CJA's The Bench, series "Profiles of American Heroes: How my service in the military influenced me as a Judge." JB: Please tell me a little bit about your background in the medical field and how you were called into service in Vietnam?
I served as a combat nurse at the 85th Evacuation Hospital in Quinhon, South Vietnam in 1966. Prior to that, I had only a few months experience practicing as a Registered Nurse in Philadelphia, PA.
JB: Obviously, you witnessed first-hand the ravages of war and the valiant selfless sacrifices of our military personnel. How were you able to deal with the tragedies you saw on a regular basis and still remain upbeat and focused on your duties?
Sometimes at night, I was so scared I cried myself to sleep under a mosquito net on my cot in the nurses' quarters. Sounds of mortar shells and rats tapping and running in the walls and ceilings could always be heard. But I was always well aware that our boys were out there without the comforts of a net or a cot. They had shells aimed straight at them and animals running directly over them. But the big difference was that, since they were supposed to be tough, they didn't have the luxury of crying like a girl.
There is no doubt in my mind that nurses represented much more than medical providers to our soldiers. We were sort of a connection with America, with home. When a soldier would open his eyes to find himself in an evacuation hospital staring at a nurse, he did not know where he was, but did know that wherever he was, it must be safe because an American girl was standing next to him. Often a soldier's eyes filled with tears and his hand would reach up to my cheek just to feel something soft.
I never asked a soldier what happened or what he did or went through because I thought those were matters between himself and his soul. But I know it was horrible. Some of those who had to be told they lost an arm, leg or eye cried out with relief:
"Charley can't get me now." I was never able to come to grips with the tension of my oath to heal people and my knowledge that if I did heal them, they would be sent back to combat and perhaps be mortally wounded the next time. A large part of our patient population had punji stick wounds. The enemy would sharpen sticks and dip them in human feces, known to cause the worst type of infections, and bury them in the ground. A buried punji stick would pop up with such force, it dug deeply into the soldier's calf as he walked over it. More than once, one of our boys would ask if I would either dilute or "forget" the penicillin injection so the infection would fester enough to require evacuation to the Philippines. Although many decades have passed, I am not sure the tragedies of the war or the role of the nurse in Vietnam have ended. Toward the end of the 1990s, I was asked by the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America to speak at the Richard Nixon Library. Three rows of the audience were taken by men still wearing their fatigues and looking bedraggled. With one glance at them, I thought to myself, "untreated PTSD, self-medicated, homeless." After I spoke, they surrounded me. Several shook my hand, but most only touched my arm. One just rubbed the top of my hand with his finger over and over again. It's natural for all of us, when we look back, to remember something positive, the happy and good times. There was nothing happy or good about the Vietnam War. I think they saw me as a representative of their one positive memory about America during the war, its nurses.
JB: What was your most memorable experience while serving in the military?
I don't know which is the most memorable because there are so many, but I will tell you one. It is interesting because of what was going on at home at the time. The Women's Liberation Movement was starting and women were questioning whether or not there was really a difference between men and women, or whether differences were perceived merely because society imposed gender roles for all of us to assume. My main concerns at the time centered around taking care of my patients. I worried constantly about whether or not I was doing a good enough job.
One time I had to get myself to the Second Field Hospital in Saigon, which is 200 miles south of Quinhon. There was no airport in Quinhon. At the dirt air strip used as a runway, G.I.'s had been lined up for up to three days to try to fly out. As soon as crew members heard a nurse was looking for a ride, I had to turn down offers. But no one was going directly to Saigon. The ride I took, on an Air Force Caribou, had to make two quick stops north of Quinhon with a final destination in the resort town of Vung Tao, south of Saigon. Between the first and second stop to deliver helicopter parts up north, we were flying low and flew over some of our Huey helicopters shooting down into the jungle. Shots were coming back up, and we quickly heard and felt the first ping. Simultaneously all five crew members tore off their own bullet proof vests. "No nurse is going to get hurt on my watch," the pilot mumbled. They wrapped me from head to toe.
Later at UCI, I may have been the only woman on campus who wore both lipstick and a bra. I didn't get caught up with who opened the door or the other little "issues" common at the time. I knew men and women were different in that women tend to have an innate need to nurture and men have a need to protect. I know the idea is outdated, but so be it.
JB: What caused you to eventually change your career path from medicine to law?
While I may have had doubts about some of the tenets of the Women's Liberation Movement, I embraced it nonetheless. I read Betty Friedan's book "The Feminine Mystique" and found myself wondering if it might be possible that I could go to college. Once back in the States, I enrolled at the University of California Irvine. The university had so many other women kicking down its door, it offered a class for women returning to school. They had representatives from all sorts of businesses, industries, academia as well as psychologists interview us. At the end, a panel made recommendations about which career path we might take. They told me I should consider the law. I took their advice.
JB: What recommendations do you have for someone interested in following your career path?
There were not that many choices available to young women when I graduated from high school. Nowadays the sky's the limit. My advice is to go right to college and skip the rest.
JB: How do you feel that your medical experience and military service has influenced you as a jurist?
Probably in lots of ways. I remember one soldier who took a blow to the face from a rifle butt and had to be evacuated from the jungle because his tooth was knocked loose and he was in horrible pain and could not eat. Coincidentally I wrote a dissent several years ago in which I said that a victim suffered serious bodily injury as a result of a similar injury, an opinion not shared by my colleagues.
In less concrete ways, though, I imagine my present notion that one attribute of a person does not necessarily define the whole person was largely formed in Vietnam. That notion is probably central to how I have judged witnesses over the years. In Vietnam, the very same soldier who might pose a threat to me might very well be the same one who would lay down his life for me. Let me explain. I learned immediately that having 500 American women in the same location as hundreds of thou-sands of red blooded American men was not always safe. We arrived in Saigon during the evening. Another nurse and I were taken to the BOQ by the chief nurse in Vietnam. A third nurse was already in the room, or, in Army parlance, the Transient Nurses Quarters. Colonel Marian Tierney left a Vietnamese guard at our door after hearing wolf whistles and invitations coming from the bar area of the compound. Before the night was over, a Major and a Captain would break through a boarded up window to our room, use filthy language and demand to have their way. Since there was no telephone in the room, I had to climb out another window to bring an armed guard to our rescue. A nurse had to be very careful to protect herself from American soldiers, but, at the same time, she could always be confident they would protect her from the enemy.
JB: Thank you, Justice Moore for your selfless contributions to our country as a military veteran and a career jurist.
Xin Quý Vị, Quý Niên trưởng và Chiến hữu, hiện đang cư ngụ trong vùng ORANGE COUNTY,
vui lòng đi đông và VOTE YES cho Bà Chánh Án Eileen C. Moore.
Xin chân thành cám ơn.
Bà Chánh Án Eileen C. Moore, cựu Quân Nhân Tham Chiến tại Việt Nam,
Bà là Trung Úy Nữ Trợ Tá phục vụ tại Bệnh Viện Dã Chiến Quy Nhơn.
Bà là ngưòi bạn của Cộng Đồng Việt Nam, thành Viên CCB/HK Yễm trợ Tượng Đài Chiến Sĩ Việt Mỹ
Diễn Hành Truyền Thống Tết Nguyên Đán Mỗi Năm, các sinh hoạt vinh danh QLVNCH, và Cờ Vàng
VNCH, sẵn sàng bênh vực cho CQN/QLVNCH.
CQN/Nha Kỹ Thuật
Hội Trưỡng Hội Ái Hữu Quân Trường Đồng Đế Nha Trang (THSQ-QLVNCH)
Thank You Major Bill Mimiaga
Veterans will vote for Veterans
President Military Cadet Dong De Nha Trang
Subject: Justice Eileen Moore....GET OUT THE VOTE TOMORROW!
Just a reminder to "get out the vote" for our Chapter Director Justice Eileen Moore tomorrow in Orange County.
Justice Moore's integrity and character are above reproach and she even has the trust of all as she was initially appointed by a Republican Governor, George Deukmejian and later elevated by a Democratic Governor, Gray Davis. Read on and you will readily see that this is an Appellate Justice who lives the credo, "justice for all!"
Justice Eileen Moore is a Vietnam Veteran, a combat nurse in Vietnam who saved the lives of many of our wounded in battle. She is a Veteran's Advocate taking care of our Veterans and their families in need. She has just published an article in the Vietnam Veteran newspaper (October Issue 2010 attached) about her role with the "Veteran's Court" in Orange County. This innovative and beneficial program supports our returning Iraqi and Afghanistan Veterans who have had some trouble with the law. Through this program Veterans now have an 18th month program to complete vice prison and in addition, they are assigned "mentors" mostly Vietnam Veterans to assist them through the program and to help them straighten out their traumatized and troubled lives.
When not serving on the bench you can find Justice Moore at the VA Hospital visiting our sick and wounded Veterans or at meetings providing input on Veterans Court or out in the field with her husband Mike advocating and supporting our Veterans. Her countless hours of volunteer work is selfless as well as her and her husband's monetary contribution to many of our programs supporting Veteran's causes.
She is beloved by the Veteran community throughout Orange County, both American and Vietnamese.
This November vote "yes" by her name,
so that she can continue her great work looking after our Veterans.
She is courageous and selfless with her love and dedication to making it right for all those that have worn the uniform of this great nation.
Semper Fi Monsoon
Chapter 785 Director and Member Justice Eileen Moore. Justice Moore has a very long history with Chapter 785 and is one of the longstanding "plankowners." Her advocacy for veterans is second to none and just recently was part of an initiative for starting a "Veteran's Court" in the OC providing "mentors" for our Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans who have pending criminal or civil challenges. She is now working with Colonel Len Hayes, Executive Director of the 1st Marine Division with providing a like program for the Marines and sailors of Oceanside and San Diego bases.
Justice Moore will be on the November ballot so remember to cast your vote.
Justice Moore is a Vietnam Veteran having served in Qui Nhơn Province as a combat nurse.
Returning to California Justice Moore returned to school and earned her degree in law and soon was a practicing attorney. Appointed to the superior court bench in Orange County where she was serving until Governor Gray Davis appointed her to the California Court of Appeals. She continues to stay current and involved with veteran affairs having just returned recently from the Army War College where she was part of a team of academia, media and professionals in a seminar with students of the war college, mostly Colonels from all branches of the service, comparing and sharing their perspectives on national strategy and homeland security issues.
I have attached her bio and you can readily see that she continues to seek professional development and just recently authored her book,
Once again, in November get out the vote for Justice Eileen Moore, a Vietnam Veteran and Consummate Professional who always see's service above self.
Mahalo and Semper Fi Monsoon
EILEEN C. MOORE
California Court of Appeal, Associate Justice
Fourth District Court of Appeal
601 W. Santa Ana Blvd.
Santa Ana, Ca. 92701 714-
e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Women’s Medical College School of Nursing, Philadelphia , PA , 1965
University of California , Irvine , CA , B.A., 1975
Pepperdine University , School of Law , Malibu , CA.-JD, 1978
University of Virginia , Charlottesville , VA , Master of Laws in Judicial Process, 2004
Associate Justice, California Court of Appeal-2000 to present
Judge, Orange County Superior Court-1989 to 2000
Attorney, civil litigation-1978 to 1989
2nd Lt. , U.S. Army Nurse Corps, combat nurse-1966
Vietnam Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Cross of Gallantry With Palm
Appellate justice (2000-present)
Civil trials (1989-1994, 1999-2000)
Civil law and motion (1990-1991)
Complex civil litigation (1991-1994)
Criminal trials (1995-1999)
Family law (1996)
Superior Court Appellate Department (1993-1994)
Specially assigned to Court of Appeal, District Four, Division Three (1993)
Honors and Awards:
Cum laude, University of California , Irvine , 1975
American Jurisprudence Award for Civil Procedure, 1978
Distinguished Alumna Award, University of California , Irvine , 1992
Alumnus of the Year Award, Pepperdine Law School , 1993
Judge of the Year, Orange County Women Lawyers, 1993
Resolutions from Orange County Board of Supervisors for work in domestic violence , 1997, 1999
Award for work in preventing domestic violence by Laura’s House Shelter, 1999
Army nominee for “Salute to Veteran’s In Business” by Veterans Charities of Orange County, 1999
Trial Judge Civility Award, American Board of Trial Advocates, Orange County Chapter , 1999
Trial Judge of the Year, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles , 2000
Appellate Justice of the Year, Consumer Attorneys Association of California , 2002
Outstanding Service Award , Vietnam Veterans of America , Chapter 785, 2005
Lifetime Achievement Award, Chapman University , 2005
Orange County Citizen of the Year, League of United Latin American Citizens, 2005
Judicial Council & AOC honor for chairing Court Interpreters Advisory Panel, 2005
Toastmasters International Communications & Leadership Award, 2005
Appellate Justice of the Year Award, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles , 2006
California Women Lawyers’ J oan Dempsey Klein Most Distinguished J urist Award, 2009
Orange County Trial Lawyers Association’s J udicial Excellence Award, 2010
Western State University Honorary Doctorate Degree, 2010
Gold “Book of the Year Award” from ForeWord for Race Results, 2010
Bronze medal “Book of the Year Award” from Independent Publisher [IPPYs] for Race Results, 2010
California Judges Assn., Civil Law and Procedure Comm. (Chair 91-92)
Faculty, Center for Judicial Education and Research
Robert A. Banyard Inn of Court (President 92-94)
Lecturer, University of California , Irvine , School of Management (90)
California Judicial Council, Workforce on Certification for Interpreters for the Deaf (90)
Task Force on Violence to Women (95)
Orange County Family Violence Council (Chair, 95-00)
Trial Practice Inn of Court, Los Angeles County Bar Association (96)
California Judicial Council, Advisory Comm. on Civil & Small Claims (97-00); Court Interpreters, Chair (01-05)
Celtic Bar Association, member 01-present
Association of Business Trial Lawyers, member board of directors (02-05)
Chapman University ’s Center for Lawyering and Trial Advocacy (CLTA) (04-07)
Judicial Council of California member (05-08)
Rules and Projects Committee, RUPRO, (05-06-vice-chair; 06-07-chair) (Judicial Council internal committee) (05-08)
Litigation Management Committee (Judicial Council internal committee) (05-08)
Liaison for Judicial Council to Appellate Advisory Committee (05-08)
California Judges Association, Executive Board (08-present)
Judicial Council Task Force for Criminal J ustice Collaboration on Mental Health Issues (08-present)
Orange County Family Violence Council (Chair, 95-00)
Stay-in-school program volunteer (90-95)
Operation Jumpstart volunteer (95-96)
Constitutional Rights Foundation volunteer judge for peer court
Mock trial judge for numerous organizations
Member Board of Visitors at Pepperdine University
Member of Vietnam Veterans of America (98-present); Asst. vice president (01-present)
Bancroft Whitney, California Civil Practice Series, contributing editor
"The Past, Present and Future of Punitive Damages,” Forum, 9/90
“Motions to Dismiss,” Forum, 10/90
“Courtroom Procedures To Accomodate the Deaf,” L.A. Daily Journal12/90
“Minors’ Compromises,” California Courts Commentary, 11/91
“Rules! Rules! Rules!,” OCWL Update, 6/94
“Trial by Jury, You Get What You Pay For,” Orange County Lawyer , 6/95
“Experts Shouldn’t Be Advocates,” Los Angeles Times Op-ed 10/25/95
“Restraining Orders: The E.R. of the Courthouse,” California Lawyer 9/96
“From The Bench,” Forum 4/98
“Domestic Violence and Stalking,” California Litigation Magazine, Spring/Summer 98
“Family Violence Solutions Can Be Adaptable,” Los Angeles Times 8/98
“Changes At The Courthouse,” ABTL Newsletter, 3/98
“Peremptory Challenges Necessary to Ensure Fairness,” Forum, 1/00
"Different Practices For Different Practices,” ABTL Newsletter, 3/00
Nurture Was the Nature of Vietnamese Nurse’s Job,” O.C. Register, 4/00
“Judicial Voir Dire More Important Than Ever,” California Litigation Magazine, Spring/Summer/00
“A Judge Needs to Establish Openness, Fairness in Court,” L.A. Daily Journal 3/01
Let’s Celebrate the Status of Women in the Orange County Legal Community (and
Maybe Investigate, Too),” Orange County Lawyer , 6/01
“Judicial Opinion, Employment in the Law,” California Litigation Magazine, Vol.14, No.2(01)
“Improving Court Interpreter System Might Insure Fairness,” L.A. Daily Journal, 1/02
“English-Only Policy Wastes State’s Natural Resources,” L.A. Daily Journal, 5/02
“Rust Remover,” Forum, 12/02
“Visiting the Spurgeon Street Irregulars,” ABTL Newsletter, 10/03
Book review, “From Jim Crow to Civil Rights” by Michael J. Klarman, Ca. Litigation Magazine, Vol.17, No.2 (04)
Forward to text [“California Civil Courtroom Handbook and Desktop Reference by Michael Paul Thomas]. (05)
Never Again Shall One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another,” Ramada Review, Oct./Nov. (05)
“Protecting the Privacy of Non-parties in Court,” Litigation Magazine, Vol. 19, No.2 (06)
"Cumis Counsel: A Primer,” J une (07)
Race Results, Cool Titles, pub., a non-fiction book comparing U.S. Supreme Court cases with Hollywood movies, (09)
“Recent Developments in Summary J udgment Procedure,” Advocate, December 2009 (09)
Courthouse Art,” The Bench, Spring 2010 (10)