Little is known of Judge McGruder before she rose to the office of Chief Judge, when first introduced she had already been a judge for quite some time, and had been appointed head of the Special Judicial Force (the sector in charge of investigating other Judges) in the wake of Judge Cal's insane reign.
Judge McGruder was created by John Wagner and Alan Grant in 1980. First appearing in 2000AD issue 182, the character was inspired by the then British Prime Minister, Margaret Hilda Thatcher, amongst other things she shares her first two names, but in reverse order.
Major Story Arcs
Rise to Office
Judge McGruder took over from Judge Griffin after he was killed for treason during the Apocalypse War (he had been brainwashed by the Soviet Block).
McGruder had led the Judges in their war against the Soviets in Griffin's absence, and as the last remaining survivor of the Council of Five at the end of the Apocalypse War she was automatically promoted to Chief Judge.
Shojan the Warlord
After some years in office the Judges of Mega-City One were approached by a powerful psychic from the Radlands of Ji (future China) named Shojan the Warlord. Shojan ordered the Judges to stay out of his business, threatening the destruction of the city if they refused.
Chief Judge McGruder thought it prudent to stay at a distance from the mutant and wait for more information before deciding on their plan of action. Unfortunately their lack of decisive action allowed Shojan to summon the spirits of the Seven Samurai, and he wreaked havoc in Mega-City One.
In the aftermath of the attack, McGruder blamed herself for the large number of casualties that had taken place, and the sacrifices that had been made by some Judges to take Shojan down. McGruder resigned and chose to take The Long Walk into the Cursed Earth, bringing law to the lawless.
Four years later, on his way back to Mega-City One Judge Dredd encountered McGruder in the Cursed Earth. McGruder was very changed. Unkempt, erratic, and sporting a new beard she attacked Dredd and his companion, unable to recognize Dredd in his current scarred state.
Eventually Dredd managed to get through to McGruder, and the two of them headed back to Mega-City One together after Dredd explained that in their absence the city has been attacked and taken over by the Dark Judges, and the Sisters of Death.
The duo managed to get into the city and found an injured Judge Anderson, who gave them the information required to weaken the Dark Judges' hold over Mega-City One and its Judges.
Return to Office
After the events of Necropolis McGruder resumed her place as Chief Judge of Mega-City One, but her time in the Cursed Earth had not treated her well.
McGruder's second term started off fine, with her acting as a steadfast leader and providing an iron resolve, but as time went on she became more and more erratic, culminating in her making many questionable decisions in regards to a new project involving the creation of Robot Judges.
Removal from Office and the Mechanismo
The Mechanismo project involved replacing human Judges with robots in an effort to replenish the beleaguered forces of Justice Department, who had lost many of their Judges during Necropolis and a variety of other catastrophes that had befallen the city. Unfortunately these machines had a habit of breaking down or going haywire, killing many citizens and other Judges in the process.
At the end of the Wilderlands arc, after Dredd had told McGruder multiple times that she was no longer fit for the job and should step down, and yet another Mechanismo screw-up, McGruder resigned for a second time, her final action being to cancel the Mechanismo program for good.
The last time we see McGruder is many years later, she is in a care home and has gone completely senile, with little understanding of what is going on and in constant need of care.
As is the practice in Mega-City One in matters involving dementia and other incurable and debilitating diseases of the mind, McGruder is scheduled for Euthanasia.
Dredd checks her out of the hospital illegally and takes her into the Cursed Earth, the two of them have one last adventure which ends with her being shot dead by criminals in the heat of battle.
McGruder was a Judge of Mega-City One, which involves strenuous combat, arms, and tactics training.
The character had been shown to be able to handle herself well in dangerous situations, and managed to survive in the Cursed Earth for many years alone, which few Judges manage.
The character of Judge McGruder appeared in the 1995 Judge Dredd movie, she was played by actress Joanna Miles.
In the film McGruder is in charge of the prosecution against Judge Dredd after he is framed for murder. McGruder is successful due to the fact that Dredd shares DNA with the true killer, Rico Dredd.
Dredd is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Later in the movie she is murdered by Rico Dredd.