Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, July 13, 2012


Page 1


Judiciary Committee Approves Bernal Nomination


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday approved the nomination of Jesus G. Bernal to be a U.S. district judge for the Central District of California.

A spokesperson said the committee approved the nomination on a voice vote, although Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who votes against all of President Obama’s judicial nominees, asked to be recorded as voting no.

Another Central District nominee, Magistrate Judge Fernando M. Olguin, was one of four whose nominations were held over. The four were all on the committee’s executive business calendar for the first time, while Bernal and two others approved yesterday had been previously held over.

The other two are Terrence G. Berg, who would fill a position in the Eastern District of Michigan, and Lorna G. Schofield, who would sit in the Southern District of New York. Also approved was Danny Chappelle Williams Sr., nominated as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

Held over, along with Olguin, were district court nominees Frank Paul Geraci Jr, of the Western District of New York, and Malachy Edward Mannion and Matthew W. Brann, both of the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The committee also held over the nomination of U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer, of the Northern District of California, to be a aember of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Bernal, directing attorney of the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Riverside, has been a deputy federal public defender in the district since 1996. The 48-year-old nominee worked in the Los Angeles office until 2006, when he took up his present position in Riverside.

He is also a former secretary of the Riverside County Bar Association.

He began his legal career as a law clerk to then-Judge David V. Kenyon of the Central District from 1989 to 1991. He was admitted to the State Bar in 1990, and after completing his clerkship worked for almost five years as a litigation associate at the law firm of Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe LLP in Los Angeles, focusing primarily on complex civil litigation.

He graduated from Yale University in 1986 and Stanford Law School in 1989. The American Bar Association reported that a majority of its evaluating committee voted to give him a “qualified” rating, with the minority saying he is “not qualified.”

Berg is an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan. Schofield is a former federal prosecutor who has been affiliated with the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York City since 1988, and is a former chair of the ABA Section of Litigation.

Schofield, whose mother was born in the Phillippines, was listed by The National Law Journal as one of “The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America” in 2008. 

Geraci is a state court judge in Rochester, N.Y.,  Mannion is a federal magistrate judge, and Brann is an attorney in Bradford County, Pa. and former chair of the county’s Republican Party.


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