Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, March 22, 2004


Page 1


Ninth Circuit Judge Tashima to Take Senior Status




Ninth Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima will take senior status on June 30, six days after his 70th birthday, the MetNews has learned.

Tashima, an appointee of President Clinton, was elevated to the Court of Appeals in 1996 after more than 15 years on the district bench. The jurist, who as a child spent three years in an internment camp with his family during World War II, is the only Japanese American to have served on the court.

Tashima, who served with the Marines in Korea, graduated from UCLA in 1958 and received his law degree from Harvard in 1961. He was a California deputy attorney general from 1962 to 1968, then joined the Spreckels Sugar Division of Amstar Corp., heading its West Coast legal department before joining Morrison and Foerster in 1977.

He was a partner in the San Francisco-based firm, primarily practicing antitrust and commercial law, before being tapped for the district bench by then-President Jimmy Carter.

Among the Ninth Circuit cases in which Tashima authored majority opinions have been United States v. McKenna (2003) 327 F.3d 830, holding that a defendant charged with having lied at trial or in a deposition cannot raise a defense that the attorney who asked the question laid a “perjury trap” by asking a question that he or she knew the answer to for the sole purpose of inducing the witness to lie; Campanelli v. Allstate Life Ins. Co. (2003) 322 F.3d 1086, upholding the constitutionality of a California statute reviving some time-barred claims arising from the 1994 Northridge earthquake; and Ting v. AT&T (2003) 319 F.3d 1126, holding that a form contract by which a telephone carrier sought to force customers to submit disputes to arbitration and pay half the fees involved, to bar class actions, to eliminate liability for willful misconduct, and to prevent customers from disclosing the outcome of disputes was unconscionable under California law.

He also wrote for the majority in Arakaki v. State of Hawaii (2002) 314 F.3d 1091, striking down the state constitutional requirement that trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs be of native ancestry; and Valeria v. Davis (2003) 320 F.3d 1014, rejecting an equal protection challenge to California’s anti-bilingual education initiative Proposition 227.

He authored a dissent from the en banc ruling in Gerber v. Hickman (2002) 291 F.3d 617 , in which the majority held that a prisoner serving a life sentence had no constitutional right to impregnate his wife through artificial insemination. “Procreation through artificial insemination...implicates none of the restrictions on privacy and association that are necessary attributes of incarceration,” Tashima argued.

Tashima’s shift to semi-retired status will leave three vacancies on the 28-judge court. Two nominees are pending before the Senate—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl, whose nomination has been filibustered by Democrats, and former Department of the Interior Solicitor William G. Myers, who has had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee but has not yet been the subject of a committee vote.


Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company