Thursday, May 16, 2013
Senate Confirms Orrick as Northern District Court Judge
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The U.S. Senate yesterday confirmed President Obama’s nomination of William H. Orrick III to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Senators voted 56-41 in favor of Orrick, who was nominated for the seat last year. The president resubmitted the nomination Jan. 3 after the Senate adjourned last year without a vote.
Fifty-one Democrats voted for the nomination, as did both independent senators and Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Forty-one Republicans voted in opposition.
Orrick is special counsel at the law firm of Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP in San Francisco. He is a graduate of Yale University and Boston College Law School.
He worked for the Georgia Legal Services Program from 1979 to 1984. He joined Coblentz Patch in 1984, became a partner in 1988, and left in June 2009 to serve as counselor to the assistant attorney general in charge of the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
In June 2010, he was named a deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Division, holding that position until he returned to Coblentz Patch last year.
His father, William H. Orrick Jr., was a judge in the Northern District and an assistant attorney general in the Kennedy administration. His grandfather, William H. Orrick Sr., was a founding partner of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in remarks on the nomination yesterday, the text of which was released by her office, said Orrick—who oversaw the Office of Immigration Litigation and defended the federal government’s position that federal law preempts pervasive efforts by states to regulate immigration—“dutifully and faithfully executed his duty to advance the position of the United States Government.”
“ Mr. Orrick’s record speaks for itself. He is seasoned. He has over three decades of experience in legal practice, faithfully representing his private and governmental clients. He has been rated well qualified by the American Bar Association.”
She criticized the lengthy delay in confirming the nominee, who was first nominated in June of last year:
“This is a real shame. The Northern District of California is in a judicial emergency, as declared by the Judiciary Conference of the United States, as are all judicial districts in California.
“The Northern District has 675 weighted filings per judgeship, making its caseload 30 percent above the national average. A civil case takes nearly 3 years to get to trial—up nearly 50 percent from a year ago.
“When well-qualified nominees like Bill Orrick are held up, judicial emergencies like those California continues to face year after year are only exacerbated.
“So, I am very pleased Bill Orrick will be confirmed, and I thank my colleagues on the Republican side for agreeing to schedule a vote on his nomination.
“I simply believe strongly that he could and should have been confirmed sooner by this body.”
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