Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, March 11, 2011


Page 1


Kronstadt Nomination Clears Judiciary Committee


By a MetNews Staff Writer


President Obama’s nomination of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John A. Kronstadt to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.

Committee members, on a voice vote, approved the 59-year-old jurist’s nomination to succeed the late Judge Florence-Marie Cooper.

Four nominees from other states also received voice votes of approval, while the controversial nomination of U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward Chen to be a district judge in the Northern District of California was held over.

Kronstadt has presided over criminal, civil, and family law matters since his appointment by then-Gov. Gray Davis in 2002. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he spent 24 years in private practice.

He was a partner at Arnold & Porter LLP in Century City from 2000 until he received his judicial appointment, and at Blanc Williams Johnston & Kronstadt from 1985 to 2000, and specialized in complex civil litigation. Kronstadt began his law practice in the Washington, D.C. office of Arnold & Porter, where he was a partner from 1984 to 1985 and an associate from 1978 to 1983. 

From 1976 to 1977, he was a law clerk to Judge William P. Gray of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. He is a 1976 graduate of Yale Law School and received an undergraduate degree in 1973 from Cornell University.  

He has been active in the Los Angeles County Bar Association, which gave him an award as outstanding committee chair, and served on the board of the Constitutional Rights Foundation. He has also chaired the Superior Court’s Outreach Committee.

Kronstadt, who is married to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Helen Bendix, was originally nominated in November, but no action was taken before the Senate adjourned for the year. The nomination was resubmitted in January.

The American Bar Association’s evaluating panel reported that Kronstadt was found “qualified” by a “substantial majority”—meaning at least two-thirds—of the members and “well qualified,” the highest possible rating, by the others, with one abstention. 

One vacancy remains in the Central District, resulting from the resignation of Judge Stephen Larson in November of last year. Another vacancy will open up when Judge A. Howard Matz takes senior status in July.

The other nominees approved yesterday were:

•Jimmie V. Reyna, former president of the Hispanic National Bar Association and a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Williams Mullen, PC to be circuit judge for the Federal Circuit.

•Vincent L. Briccetti, a specialist in white-collar criminal defense and partner in a White Plains firm, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He is a former federal prosecutor and was once an associate in the Stamford, Conn. office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky, & Walker.

•Arenda L. Wright Allen, the federal public defender in Norfolk and a former U.S. attorney, to be U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Virginia; and

•Michael Francis Urbanski, a magistrate judge for the Western District of Virginia, to be a district judge of the same court.

Chen was first nominated by Obama in 2009 and has twice previously been approved by the committee. He received a unanimous well-qualified rating from the ABA, but Republicans have criticized his activities as a lawyer for the ACLU prior to being appointed a magistrate judge.


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