Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, November 16, 2006


Page 1


Bush Nominates James E. Rogan to Federal Bench


From Staff and Wire Service Reports


President Bush yesterday nominated Orange Superior Court Judge James E. Rogan to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The former congressman, who has held his current office for less than two months, was one of eight candidates whose nominations to district and circuit judgeships were sent to the Senate.

Six of those are previous nominees who were objected to by Senate Democrats prior to the preelection recess.

Rogan became an Orange Superior Court judge Oct. 1, about two months after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would appoint the 48-year-old ex-lawmaker to an impending vacancy on the bench. Rogan, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, said at the time of the governor’s announcement that he was “more thrilled” about being appointed to the bench than he was when he was elected to Congress.

Former Congressman

Rogan said that he “loved” being on the bench—-he was a Glendale Municipal Court judge from 1990 to 1994—-and “didn’t really want to give it up the first time,” but was talked into running in a special election for the State Assembly after then-Assemblyman Pat Nolan unexpectedly pled guilty to corruption charges.

He defeated Democrat Adam Schiff in the special election, but lost his congressional seat to Schiff six years later in what was the most expensive congressional race in history up to that point, with about $11 million being spent.

Representing Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena and neighboring areas in Congress from 1996 to 2000, Rogan was one of the House managers in the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton.

After dropping out of high school, Rogan went on to graduate from UC Berkeley in 1979 and UCLA Law School in 1983. He specialized in prosecuting gang murders as a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney from 1985 to 1990, when he was appointed by then-Gov George Deukmejian as California’s youngest judge, at age 33.

He served in the Assembly from 1994 to 1996. He also served as undersecretary of commerce and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from 2001 to 2004.

Other Nominees

After returning to Southern California, he worked for the Venable Law Firm and was then of counsel to Preston Gates Ellis in its Irvine office before being named to succeed Judge Suzanne Shaw upon her retirement.

Also nominated yesterday were U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle of North Carolina and Army General Counsel William James Haynes II to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Mississippi attorney Michael Brunson Wallace to the Fifth Circuit; Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler to the D.C. Circuit; Boise, Idaho attorney William Gerry Myers III and Pocatello District Judge N. Randy Smith to the Ninth Circuit; and Benjamin Hale Settle, an Olympia-area attorney, to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

All of the Court of Appeals nominees but Keisler have generated intense opposition from Democrats. Keisler’s earlier nomination to the Fourth Circuit was withdrawn amidst complaints by Maryland’s senators and others in the state that a D.C.-based lawyer with few ties to the state beyond living there was an inappropriate choice to fill a “Maryland seat” on the appellate court.

Smith’s nomination has drawn similar opposition, in particular from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Judiciary Committee who wants the seat to go to a Californian. Smith, who was unanimously rated “well qualified” by the American Bar Association’s evaluations panel, would succeed Judge Stephen Trott, now in senior status, who was the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles before accepting appointment as an assistant U.S. attorney general but moved to Idaho after his appointment to the appellate bench.

Myers is a former top lawyer at the Interior Department and lobbyist for mining and cattle interests. Democrats have blocked his nomination since 2003, railing against what they call his anti-environment agenda and an acrimonious past with American Indians.

Haynes’ critics cite his role in formulating the Bush administration’s eventually abandoned policy on the treatment of terrorism detainees, while Wallace was unanimously rated “not qualified” by the ABA committee, which said he lacked the temperament required by judges and that he was viewed by lawyers and judges who knew him as hostile to the legal rights of minorities.

Boyle likewise has been criticized as insensitive to African Americans, women and the disabled and for having a high reversal rate.


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