Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, November 18, 2002


Page 1


Senate Confirms R. Gary Klausner as Judge of U.S. District Court


By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts


Los Angeles Superior Court Judge R. Gary Klausner has been confirmed as the newest judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Klausner was one of 18 judges approved by voice vote of the Senate late Thursday night. One of the others was Jeffrey White, a San Francisco litigator confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Klausner, who was nominated by the president on July 18, will fill a seat that has been vacant since Judge William Keller took senior status in 1999.

The 61-year-old Klausner has been a judicial officer for 28 years. He was appointed to the Pasadena Municipal Court as a commissioner in 1974, then made a judge of that court by then-Gov. Jerry Brown appointed in 1980.

Then-Gov. George Deukmejian elevated him to the Superior Court in 1985.

He became supervising judge of the Criminal Departments in 1991, was elected assistant presiding judge in 1993, and took over as presiding judge in 1995 and 1996.

After stepping down from the court’s top leadership post, he  was appointed to head the Probate Department.

In January of last year, he assumed a new post in the larger unified court supervising the civil departments.

Judge Carolyn Kuhl, who currently presides over a complex litigation court at the Central Civil West courthouse, will take over for Klausner in Dept. 1, Assistant Presiding Judge Robert Dukes told the MetNews.

Klausner’s nomination was “looking so good,” Dukes said, that a contingency plan was put in place.

‘Institutional Memory’

“We’re very thrilled for him, but we’re going to miss him,” Dukes said of Klausner. “…We are going to miss his leadership and his institutional memory.”

Dukes, who moves up to become presiding judge in January, added that he was “losing a good friend” on the court, although he expects to remain in contact after Klausner moves the few blocks to the federal court.

It was unclear Friday when Klausner would be sworn in. Neither Klausner nor the district court’s chief judge, Consuelo Marshall, was available for comment.

Kuhl’s stay in Dept. 1 could be short lived, as she has been nominated by President Bush to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The nomination of Kuhl, a Justice Department lawyer in the Reagan administration, has stalled because of Democratic opposition, but her prospects of confirmation have brightened considerably as a result of Republican victories in Senate contests on Nov. 5.

Also awaiting confirmation to the federal bench is Superior Court Judge S. James Otero. Otero is currently assistant supervising judge of the civil departments, a post that will go to Judge J. Stephen Czuleger if and when Otero is confirmed, Dukes said.

Otero’s confirmation appears likely, as he was recommended by a bipartisan committee and has the support of both Democratic senators from the state. But with the Senate in a lame-duck session and no hearing date set, he is probably going to have to wait until sometime next year.

Klausner is a Los Angeles native and a graduate of Loyola High School. He went on to the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and earned his law degree in 1967 from Loyola University School of Law. A Vietnam veteran, he served as a U.S. Army captain, then returned to Los Angeles to become a deputy district attorney.

He was a prosecutor for five years before becoming a commissioner.

White, who fills a seat on the San Francisco-based Northern District Court that has been vacant since Judge Charles Legge retired in June of last year, headed the Litigation Department of Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe for 15 years.

Other Nominees

Also approved yesterday was one appellate court judge, John M. Rogers, who joins the Cincinnati-based Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Rogers, 54, has been a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law for 24 years and is a former civil appellate lawyer at the Department of Justice.

He was a visiting professor at the University of San Diego School of Law in 1998-99, and taught in China as a Fulbright professor.

The rest of the judges confirmed yesterday were named to district courts.

They are Magistrate Judges Stanley R. Chesler, Robert B. Kugler, and Freda L. Wolfson, former Rep. William J. Martini, and state trial judge Jose L. Linares for the District of New Jersey; Tacoma attorney Ronald B. Leighton for the Western District of Washington; state trial judge Linda R. Reade for the Northern District of Iowa; and Magistrate Judge Thomas W. Phillips for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Also Bismarck attorney Daniel L. Hovland for the District of North Dakota; Magistrate Judge Alia M. Ludlum for the Western District of Texas; state appeals court Justice James E. Kinkeade for the Northern District of Texas; Providence attorney William E. Smith for the District of Rhode Island; Kent A. Jordan, vice president and general counsel of the Corporation Service Company, for the District of Delaware; Enterprise, Ala. prosecutor Mark E. Fuller for the Middle District of Alabama; and labor lawyer and former National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Rosemary M. Collyer for the District of Columbia.


Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company