HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — History was made on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, in Pittsburgh as the daughter of a steelworker became Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, ending three centuries of men holding the position.

When Debra Todd raised her hand, another gender barrier fell in Pennsylvania.

“In 300 years on our Pennsylvania Supreme Court we’ve never had a woman chief justice before, so it’s about time,” said Todd.

Todd’s seniority on the high court made it her time to be the boss.

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Being chief justice means overseeing all courts throughout Pennsylvania and swearing in new Governors, as she did last week.

“I am not above any of my colleagues in terms of voting on cases,” said Todd. “The bucks stop here with respect to the administration of the system.”

Debra McCloskey, the daughter of a steelworker, grew up in western Pennsylvania. Her dad was proud when she became a lawyer for U.S. Steel. In 1999 she was elected to the superior court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2007.

“I would like to see the political matters and election issues resolved without coming to our court,” Todd added.

Todd is troubled by recent cases that have elected officials and the public suggesting high court rulings are politically motivated, and therefor tainted.

“I believe on our court there are no Democrat justices there are no Republican justices. We are all justices of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania,” said Todd.

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Now, there’s a woman in charge, which is a milestone that reminded Todd of her days in the elementary school choir.

“The song was, ‘Every little boy can be president,’ and a boy got to sing the solo and the girls were the backup singers. Back then that was kind of the expectation, that it was the boys going to be the great achievers,” Todd said.

Combine Todd with House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton and Senate President Pro Temp Kim Ward, women are no longer the backups.

“One day, probably very soon, when we talk about women in high leadership positions it’s just going to be normal. And I’m waiting for that time where seeing  women in high positions is normal and we’re on our way to that,” said Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin/Cumberland).

Todd is no longer in the elementary school choir, but it’s said she still has a beautiful voice.

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When asked if she would sing abc27 a few bars of one of her favorite songs, Todd said, “No, I will not sing you a few bars. I love the song ‘I Hope You Dance’ because it’s meaningful to me as a mother to think of my daughter and how I want her to reach her dreams,” Todd concluded.

There has been lots of progress in Pennsylvania, but there is still more work to be done. Pennsylvania has never elected a woman or person of color as governor or United States Senator.