Robert Huie – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California is currently short five judges. Having appointed two judges to the court already, the Biden Administration is slowly naming candidates for the remaining vacancies, including Jones Day partner Robert Huie.


Robert S. Huie received his B.A. from Calvin University, a private evangelical university in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1998 and his J.D. from Yale Law School in 2002.

After law school, Huie spent a year at Wiggin Dana before clerking for Judge Jose Cabranes on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Huie then joined Latham & Watkins as a civil litigator.

In 2008, Huie became an Assistant United States Attorney based in San Diego. In 2020, he moved to become a Partner at Jones Day, where he currently serves.

History of the Seat

Huie has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, to a seat vacated on October 31, 2018, by Judge Michael Anello’s move to senior status. On November 21, 2019, President Trump nominated federal prosecutor Michelle Pettit to fill this vacancy. However, Pettit was not processed by the Senate Judiciary Committee before the end of the Trump Administration.

On January 19, 2022, President Biden nominated Huie to fill this seat.

Legal Experience

Throughout his career, Huie has worked both as a federal prosecutor and in private practice at a number of different law firms. In the latter capacity, Huie has worked as part of lawsuits related to insurance payouts from the September 11 terrorist attacks. See, e.g., S.R. Int’l Bus. Ins. Co. v. World Trade Ctr. Props. LLC., 467 F.3d 107 (2d Cir. 2006).

Notably, as a federal prosecutor, Huie was one of the leading prosecutors in the Fat Leonard scandal, in which 33 people were charged as part of a conspiracy to bribe U.S. Navy officials in exchange for classified intelligence. See Craig Whitlock, ‘Fat Leonard’ Probe Expands to Ensnare More than 60 Admirals, Wash. Post, Nov. 5, 2017. Huie’s work led to a number of guilty pleas, including of U.S. Navy Commander Jose Luis Sanchez. See Elliot Spagat, Navy Official is Highest Yet to Plead Guilty in Bribery Case, A.P. State & Local, Jan. 7, 2015. In other matters, Huie prosecuted Terry Lee Steward for threatening judges who presided over his medical malpractice case. Man Gets Time Served and Home Detention for Threatening to Kill Judges, City News Service, Feb. 28, 2011.

Overall Assessment

While the Biden Administration has generally sought out “unconventional” backgrounds in their judicial nominees, Huie, a former federal prosecutor and current biglaw partner, represents a brand of nominees that generally skated to confirmation in the past. While Huie may still draw some opposition, he is likely to be confirmed comfortably nonetheless.


  1. Another nominee showcasing how some states senators have followed the directives set by Biden more closely than others. While some states have chosen to recommend people from nontraditional backgrounds, California has had mainly nominees who are state judges and Biglaw.


  2. There are so many other young & more progressive lawyers I would have liked to have seen as the first non state court judge nominated to the federal bench in California. With that said,Robert Huie is exceptionally qualified. I look to him to probably receive the most votes of any California nominee to date to be confirmed.


  3. Huie is a straight out awful nominee, a grade of F. In the same boat with Rodriguez, O’Hearn, Childs, and Rearden. I’m actually concerned that Huie is really a conservative (unlike someone like O’Hearn who is a pro-corporate center-left judge) given that he went to Calvin College.

    I would vote against this nominee at every level of the Senate process.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Armilla Staley-Ngomo would have been a very good choice for this Southern district, but I am almost sure I saw another article last year in which she states she applied but was turned down.

      As for Huie being an awful nominee, I wouldn’t call him that. I think there was an infinite number of nominees I would rather have seen from California but just looking at the nominee himself, I don’t believe he is some secret conservative. He was a prosecutor but from all accounts he prosecuted some really bad actors for crimes including bribery, money laundering, narcotics trafficking and border crimes. He’s on the Jones Day diversity, inclusion & advancement committee and serves as the pro bono contact.

      And I cannot put him as a worse pick then Christine O’Hearn. After looking at his hearing in the SJC, he, unlike O’Hearn could answer basic legal questions. He is more than qualified. But I certainly want to see nominees with a more progressive background for the remaining picks. I would give him a C- grade. O’Hearn would get a F from me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There was some commentary about this on other posts, but looks like Cabranes will be replaced by a Connecticut lawyer or judge on the 2nd Circuit:

    If I were a New Yorker, I would be furious that Schumer ceded a seat to a small state like CT. I wonder what Blumenthal did to win such a concession – he’s pretty low profile, and he doesn’t seem like a pain like Manchin or Sinema. I wonder if this will mean McKeown’s seat will stay in CA (though given that Feinstein is senile and Padilla is new, I would hope the WA senators would be in a stronger position…)

    Also, bBetween this and Carney’s seat, there are now 2 CT seats to fill. I think Raheem Mullins from the CT Supreme Court will probably fill one of the seats given that he’s Black and only 43 (though his career path is very conventional). All of the recent appointees to D. Conn. would be great choices, but I’m not sure Biden would elevate any of them so soon. I also think other posts had mentioned Cristina Rodriguez at Yale, but I wonder if they’ll try to split the difference and have someone with ties to both NY and CT.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haaaaaa… I tried to tell everybody there is no way this seat will be reverted back to New York. I know everybody on this site thought I was wrong, but I tried to tell you. There’s simply no way in a 50/50 senate seats will be moved to new states. It’s not that my personally opinion is this is what it should be, it’s just simply the reality.

      As I have stated numerous times the 2nd circuit seat will remain in CT & the 9th circuit seat will also stay in California. And unlike the suggestion by some on this site both seats will be filled this year barring any change in the senate composition.

      As mentioned, before I believe one of the two seats will go to Cristina Rodriguez. The for the other seat I would guess either Justice Mullins or recently confirmed district court judge Omar Williams. But I’m less confident about the second guess. I would be shocked if Rodriguez doesn’t get one of the seats.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do personally believe the seat should be a Washington state seat. My argument as to why I think it may stay a California seat is the judicial recommendation for additional seats said California is in need of 2 more circuit court seats while not mentioning Washington state in need of any more. Also both California senators are on the judiciary committee.

        But unlike the Connecticut seat which I felt there was no way would be moved to New York (And I’ve written this in prior post as far back as last year), I will admit there’s a better chance of the California seat being moved back to Washington state.


    • From reading the article I think I understand how Blumenthal won out. Jon O. Newman, who was on the 2nd circuit from 1979 to 1997, is from Connecticut. His seat was moved to New York when Katzmann took office in 1999, and Katzmann was replaced by Lee (another NY judge) in 2021. Thus, Blumenthal’s argument that there have been 3 CT seats for decades is valid.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. @Dequan,
    I agree with you on Huie. I get wanting more defense lawyers etc. on the bench instead of ones from prosecutor backgrounds like Huie but there is nothing to suggest he’s a Scalia/Gorsuch in hiding.
    Plus he increase APPI representation on the bench which is a plus.
    I’m not thrilled with this nomination but it’s not one folks should rip their hair out over either, as he’s no Christine O’Hearn as you said.
    IMO, she still has the “honor” of being the worst nominee we’ve seen so far under Biden and should have been rejected like the one Trump nominee who couldn’t answer basic questions was.


    • Exactly. O’Hearn is to me by far the worst nominee so far because not only is she not a proven progressive, born in the 1960’s from a blue state, but she couldn’t even answer basic legal questions at her hearing.

      Jennifer Reardon by contrast has at least some progressive background in her career & actually gave solid answers at her hearing. She’s still a bad nominee but not worse then O’Hearn in my book.

      Childs would have been my worse had she been the SCOTUS nominee but as I said all throughout the process I never believed she was going to be the nominee. I will put her either second or third worse because she was nominated to the DC Circuit versus a district court seat. But at least Childs is qualified & also has some progressive background as well. But due to the court she was nominated I would still vote no to confirm her unless she was switched to the 4th circuit.

      Robert Hue is in the same category as Regina Rodriguez & Florence Pan. There were much better nominees for their seats & I would have fought like Hell behind the scenes to prevent their nomination if I was in the senate.


    • Haaaaaa… I can’t even say on this site what my answer to Grassley would be. But I will say Schumer should commit to not allowing the senate to recess for the Easter break until the confirmation vote even before I read this. That would solve two problems. It would bring a sense of urgency to the vote & two (And just as if not more important) if Republicans delay then it will keep the senate in session so they can continue confirming other judges until KBJ’s vote.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t expect Republicans to boycott Jackson’s hearing. In fact, they may want to use it to rally its base and they can’t do that if they boycott. Jackson is the most progressive and outspoken of the three whom Biden considered.

    The Federal reserve nominations are being boycotted because Republicans have accused one of the nominees of violating conflict-of-interest regulations. If her nomination were withdrawn, would the other three nominees go unimpeded? I’m not aware of any controversy involving any of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    According to this, Robert Huie is AAPI (on his father’s side from what I’ve been able to gather) which is likely why he was working in the diversity team at Jones Day.
    As to the other point made, it looks like per Senate rules that when cloture is filed on a major piece of legislation (in this case the Post Office Bill) you aren’t allowed to vote on nominees, judicial or otherwise.
    It does say there will be votes tomorrow so let’s see what that brings.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m assuming all the Democratic senators on the judiciary committee including Feinstein will be present this week given that it’s almost certain Nina Morrison is going to have to have a discharge motion done to get to the floor but that can’t happen without all the Democrats on the judiciary committee being there.
    Hopefully we will see confirmations as well.
    Also, as many of us have been saying, it’s time to pick up the nominations pace again, if for no other reason that if we don’t, there will be no nominees to have hearings for by mid April.


  9. Yup.
    If I’m reading the rule right and what Senate experts have said, if cloture happens on legislation, you can’t vote on nominees in the mean time, judges or otherwise and vice versa.
    That means Wednesday and Thursday is where we hopefully see some action on judges.


    • Also keep in mind VP Harris will be out of the country as she heads to Poland today. So I doubt we will see any judges confirmed this week between them taking Wednesday off (I still don’t understand that), trying to pass the continuing resolution that expires Friday at midnight & no cloture being filed for any judicial nominees yet.

      Even with all 50 Democrats back, I just don’t see any judges getting confirmed this week. The week doesn’t have to be a total waste. If I see a nominations hearing posted on the SJC website today for next week that would be good news. Of course great news would be if we see another batch of judicial nominees which seems to be imminent based on us only having one nominee announced since January 19th.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Yeah Senate Dems are holding their annual “issues conference” at Howard U. today, so that’s why they’re not in session. They’ve got to huddle up and strategize on all the work they’re not doing.
    Also, just want to say as a fellow judicial noms nerd that I’ve really enjoyed reading all your commentary and research on candidates. Fingers crossed we get more named today or tomorrow.


  11. Well looks like the end of the day & the SJC did not post they will be having a nomination shearing next Wednesday to clear out the remaining 2 circuit court & 5 district court nominees. That will make this week & next week they could have held a hearing for them but did not. With KBJ SCOTUS hearing the week after next, we will either have to wait until the week before the Easter recess, or these nominees will not have a hearing for at least another 6 weeks.

    Another wasted opportunity but at the pace Schumer is confirming judges I guess it really doesn’t mater anyway.


    • Also if William Pocan’s nomination wasn’t dead because of Ron Johnson not returning his blue slip, it’s probably really dead after today. Apparently his brother got into an argument behind closed doors with Nancy Pelosi about the budget bill…

      “Pelosi was angry at Democratic members who revolted over the Covid relief offsets — and the meetings were extremely tense, including with Rep. Mark Pocan”



    • Yeah, the SCOTUS vacancy has completely derailed what was a good pace w/judicial nominations…..Now, the Democrats can’t walk & chew gum…..The WH has sent one nomination to the senate in a month, & Schumer stopped confirming judges……I guess Durbin moved nominees ok in committee, but he should have had Abudu’s hearing (11th Circuit)……She was probably never a serious candiate for SCOTUS and she should be ready for a floor vote by now…


      • That’s the problem. Durbin’s pace of moving nominees out of committee is only ok. We need it to be great or at least good. I think the last nomination hearing had a nominee from November. That is ridiculous.

        I’m happy they are expediting KBJ hearing but they really should have that standard for all nominees. Instead of 3 nominees per hearing there should be double that. That way when something unexpected happens like Biden says he is considering a nominee for SCOTUS or a senator with holds their blue slip the night before the hearing you still have 5 nominees at the hearing.


  12. Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination is historic and may pass on a party-line vote broken by the Vice President, but so far, no one has noticed. With the ongoing Ukraine war, supply chain crisis, and worries about rising prices, the confirmation hearings may get the least coverage of any nominee since the 1970’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Back from vacation. What did I miss? How many of the remaining nominees has the SJC held hearings for and processed? Schumer is clearing the table on the floor? All good news? Or are we still stuck at 46 confirmed?


    • Haaaaaa… You mine as well stayed on vacation. No judges confirmed, no nominations hearing this week or next & no new batches of nominees. The senate wasn’t even in session yesterday because instead of taking their retreat on a weekend, they did it on a Wednesday.

      But we do have some good news. We had plenty of other nominees announced. We now have a secretary of aging nominated. I so wish I was joking…smh


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s