Nora Manella Unanimously Confirmed to C.A.
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts
U.S. District Judge Nora M. Manella of the Central District of California was unanimously confirmed yesterday to succeed retired Justice J. Gary Hastings as member of Div. Four of this district’s Court of Appeal.
The Commission on Judicial Appointments approved the nomination following a hearing at the Ronald Reagan State Building. For Second District appointments, the commission consists of Chief Justice Ronald George, Attorney General Bill Lockyer and the district’s senior presiding justice, Joan Dempsey Klein of Div. Three.
Manella, 55, has been a district judge since 1998.
She had been under consideration for the Court of Appeal at least since last year. Her name was sent to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation after Justice Michael Nott retired from Div. Two, but Nott’s seat went to Victoria Chavez, who had been serving on the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Manella told the MetNews following her nomination that after her years as a trial judge, she was looking forward to the “intellectual heavy lifting of appellate work.”
“I like deciding cases, I like the law, I like writing opinions. I want to explain in care and concise prose who prevails and why they should prevail.”
She added that she was “particularly thrilled” to be joining Div. Four because of her admiration of its presiding justice, Norman Epstein.
She added that the other justices in that division, Thomas Willhite and Daniel Curry, are former colleagues from the Superior Court.
The Los Angeles native is a graduate of Wellesley College and USC Law School. After graduating from law school in 1975, she clerked for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a year, then worked as legal counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution from 1976 to 1978.
She then joined the Washington office of O’Melveny & Myers, before returning to Los Angeles in 1982 to become an assistant U.S. attorney. She eventually became the office’s top criminal appellate lawyer before then-Gov. George Deukmejian named her to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1990.
Deukmejian’s successor, Pete Wilson, elevated her to the Superior Court in 1992, and President Bill Clinton appointed her as U.S. attorney in 1994 and as district judge four years later.
Manella’s appointment to the Court of Appeal will leave the District Court with five vacancies and only one nomination—that of former State Bar President Andrew Guilford for the seat of Judge Dickran Tevrizian, who took senior status last August—pending.
Another vacancy is scheduled for September, when Judge Ronald S.W. Lew will take senior status.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company