Joyce Kennard

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline)-California Supreme Court Associate Justice Joyce Kennard will undergo abdominal surgery, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The unexpected procedure is to remove a growth that doctors say they believe is benign. Court spokeswoman Lynn Holton said Wednesday evening that "everything is expected to go well" during the surgery, to be performed sometime in the next week.

Kennard, 68, will be unable to sit for oral arguments scheduled for May and June. Attorneys with cases to be heard then will be asked to allow Kennard to watch videotapes of argument so she may participate in their ruling.

The graduate of Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California is known for her probing questions during oral argument.

Appointed to the high court in 1989 by Republican Gov. George Deukmejian, she is the longest serving justice on the seven-member court.

California voters have retained Kennard three times. The first time was in 1990, during the first general election after her appointment, as required by the state constitution. She qualified for full, 12-year terms in 1994 and 2006.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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