The Honorable Quentin Kopp

San Mateo County Superior Court, Department retired


The Hon. Quentin L. Kopp (Ret.) served as a judge for the Superior Court of San Mateo County in California. He was appointed to the bench by former governor Pete Wilson on January 1, 1999, where he presided over general criminal and civil matters until his retirement on January 31, 2004.

Kopp earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1949. He then received a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1952.

After completing law school, Kopp served in the United States Air Force. He was stationed at the McClellan Air Force Base during the Korean War, assigned to the Office of Special Investigation as well as the Judge Advocate General Corps. He was tasked with prosecuting and defending those accused of court-martial offenses. He was discharged in 1954.

Kopp began his civilian legal career as assistant counsel to the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, a commission tasked with eliminating any racketeering on the piers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and New Jersey. Then, in 1955, he joined Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro as an associate. He left the firm after three years and started his own private practice, where he handled general civil and criminal cases.

Kopp was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1971. He represented the West Portal neighborhood until 1986 when he was elected to the California State Senate. He was the first non-incumbent independent to be elected to the California State Senate since 1878. He served for three terms, reaching a term limit restriction in 1998. During this time, Kopp hosted a weekly radio talk show on KGO-AM. He also participated as a weekly political commentator on KTVU-TV.

Kopp has chaired the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the California Law Revision Commission, and the Little Hoover Commission. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Legal Aid Society as well as the Ethics Commission of San Francisco.

He was born in Syracuse, New York. He has been a member of Congregation Beth Israel-Judea in San Francisco, California.

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