Friday, March 2, 2007
Nominations of Wright, Wu Advance in Senate Committee
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
The nominations of Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Otis D. Wright II and George H. Wu to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California were unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.
The committee, without a recorded vote, approved the two local judges, along with John Preston Bailey of West Virginia. The nominations now go to the full Senate, where swift approval is likely since no objections have been voiced to the nominees, whose confirmation hearings occurred three weeks ago.
Wright is a graduate of California State University, Los Angeles and Southwestern University School of Law. He served as a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy for 11 years prior to becoming a deputy attorney general, and was a partner in the Los Angeles law firm Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker from 1993 until his appointment to the Superior Court in November 2005.
A civil litigator for two decades, his brief tenure as a judge has been mainly doing criminal cases. He currently presides over drug dependency court in Long Beach.
The judge could not be reached for comment yesterday, but in an interview following his nomination last September, he said he valued his assignment because it was an opportunity “to change lives, one life at a time.”
Service on the federal bench, he said, would be an opportunity to serve as a role model.
“For people who look like me, it’s very cool to have seen Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice being Secretary of State. . . . If I’m given the opportunity to be an example . . . I’ve got to do it.”
Wright said his life changed after he altered his plans at the last minute on September 11, 2001, and did not take one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center. “I’ve been given extra time to do something,” he said. “If I can be a role model, great.”
Wu, who has a civil fast-track assignment in downtown Los Angeles, was named by then-Gov. Pete Wilson to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1993, and to the Superior Court in 1996.
Wu graduated from Pomona College in Claremont in 1972 and the University of Chicago Law School in 1975. He was an associate at LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby & MacRae in Los Angeles from 1989 to 1991.
He served as an assistant division chief of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California in Los Angeles from 1991 to 1993.
If confirmed by the Senate, Wright will fill the vacancy created when Judge Gary L. Taylor took senior status on Dec. 8, 2004, and Wu will succeed Judge Ronald S.W. Lew, who took senior status last September. Confirmation of the pair would leave the court with only one vacancy, a seat for which Orange Superior Court James Rogan, a former congressman, has been nominated.
Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company