San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Rita Lin would, if confirmed, be the first Chinese American woman on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Lin got her B.A. from Harvard University in 2000 and her J.D. from the Harvard Law School in 2003. After graduating, Lin clerked for Judge Sandra Lynch on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and then joined the San Francisco office of Morrison & Foerster. In 2014, she became an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.
In 2018, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Lin to the San Francisco County Superior Court, where she has served since.
History of the Seat
Lin has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, to a seat vacated on May 17, 2022, by Judge Edward Chen.
Lin started her legal career at the San Francisco office of Morrison & Foerster. Among the matters she handled at the firm, Lin represented Karen Golinski in a suit to seek spousal benefits for her wife. See Pam Spaulding, Lambda Legal Sues U.S. OPM on Behalf of Fed Lesbian Employee Whose Wife Was Denied Insurance, Pam’s House Blend, Jan. 20, 2010. The suit ended in Judge Jeffrey White ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, which was echoed by the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor. See Aaron Kase, Defense of Marriage Act Thrown Out By Supreme Court, Lawyers.com, June 26, 2013.
From 2014 to 2018, Lin worked as a federal prosecutor in the Northern District of California. In this position, Lin prosecuted Melinda Van Horne for environmental damage to federal lands from her cultivation of marijuana, ending with Van Horne pleading guilty and receiving a 12 month prison sentence. See Whitehorn Woman Sentenced to 12 Months Imprisonment for Environmental Damage from Marijuana Grow on National Conservation Land, States News Service, Aug. 3, 2016.
Since 2018, Lin has served as a judge on the San Francisco County Superior Court. In this role, Lin presides over trial court matters in criminal, civil, family, and other state law matters. Lin also presides over preliminary hearings that see if sufficient evidence exists to proceed on felony charges. See, e.g., Adam Ruthenbeck, Deterring Theft By Encouraging It, The People’s Vanguard of Davis, Oct. 7, 2019 (noting that Judge Lin found probable cause for bike theft charges).
Statements and Writings
Lin has sometimes made media statements regarding the law and policy. For example, as an undergraduate student, she supported a protest against clothing company Guess? due to the conditions the clothes were manufactured in. See Breezy Tollinger, Harvard Students Protest Labor Conditions at Guess?, University Wire, Sept. 25, 1998.
With experience on both the civil and criminal side, as well as time on the bench, Lin would, despite her youth, be deemed qualified for a federal judicial appointment. Lin may draw opposition based on her pro bono representations with Lambda Legal but, if she gets a hearing this Congress, Lin should be confirmed by the end of the year.
Unclear whether Republicans would strenuously oppose her. The lateness of the year and upcoming elections are her biggest challenges.
This nominee seems to be good but I would like to have seen any number of more progressive lawyers instead, even AAPI lawyers in the Bay Area. She has some good pro bono work & slime food work as a federal prosecutor but there were definitely more progressive choices. Still in all not a bad choice.
Not a horrible choice but as Dequan said, could have been better.
Not a horrible choice but as Dequan said, it could have been better.
Ok, this would be great news if she is the next justice. A 35 year old black woman who got into politics because her great grandfather was lynched in the South. This is more like it. California & New York take note.
interesting NPR story that aired this morning: https://www.npr.org/2022/10/07/1127400807/how-economics-retreats-made-a-strong-impression-on-federal-judges
I’m not loving the part that says “ So it’s a program that has, I think, effects on liberal judges and makes them somewhat more conservative.”
Another current judge being nominated in California, but Lin has some unique experiences which makes her stand out amongst them.
I am happy we have six nominees at Wednesday’s SJC hearing but not happy only one circuit court nominee. I wonder why Benjamin & Wamble were skipped. I sure hope blue slips had nothing to do with it since they are both from red states.
Dequan my best guess is Durbin and Schumer feel like there is enough home state support (I feel very co Disney about Graham support Benjamin at least) that they’ll be able to be confirmed quickly in December. If my math is right, if they get a Nov 16th hearing then they should get voted out of committee on Dec 9 and still have 1-2 weeks to get floor votes.
It’s tight but perhaps this was a gamble to get a few extra district nominees through this session.
Well if they are taking six weeks off, let’s hope we won’t have to worry about rushing because they should be able to hold the senate. If not, taking those extra two weeks off will end up being a mistake of epic proportions.
I agree with both of you. Personally I would not have done this and would have hyper focused on circuit seats, even adding additional races hearings, until all 41 vacancies were filled. I think it’s a major gamble, even if I do feel mildly confident that it may work out in spite of Schumer and Durban’s mistake.
The worst part is had they been strategic, they could have gotten a lot done without taking too much time away from the senators.
Last week Thursday – 2 circuit court (CC 1 & 2) cloture votes. Recess @3pm
This week – Recess
Monday @5:30pm – Confirm 2 (CC 1 & 2). Then send a cloture motion for 2 CC (3 & 4) to the desk.
Tuesday – Discharge Bloomenkatz & Abudu (8 hours total)
Wednesday – Discharge Ho & Kato (8 hours total)
Thursday – Vote for cloture on 2 CC (3 & 4) send a cloture motion to the desk for Bloomenkatz & Abudu. Recess at 3pm
Monday of the following week @5:30pm – Confirm 2 CC (3 & 4). Send a cloture motion to the desk for 2 more CC (7 & 8)
Tuesday – Vote for cloture on Bloomenkatz & Abudu
Wednesday – Confirm Bloomenkatz
Thursday – Confirm Abudu & vote for cloture on CC (7 & 8) Send a cloture motion to the desk for some district court nominees. Recess at 3pm
Recess weeks for election
Monday following the election – Confirm CC (7 & 8)
But since the Democrats feel they need SIX weeks off they damn sure better hold the senate.
Don’t think they will be getting confirmed unless Dems keep the Senate then. Sad and pathetic.
4th and 10th rare circuits where Dems have more appointees. 4th is actually tied because of the vacancies and one of the Dems (Wynn or Diaz) is essentially a Republican and votes with the conservative block every time. If Republicans take back the presidency in 24 those circuits are gone from us.
We now have a second Trump appointee boycotting Yale law students for clerkship.
According to her SJC questionnaire, Adrienne Nelson interviewed for the 9th circuit vacancy & district court vacancy at the same time. After Jennifer Sung was picked for the 9th circuit, it took over a year for the administration to nominate Nelson for the district court seat.
Interesting, Johnstone is member of ACS and Federalist Society..
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The Federalist Society has some liberal members such as Jennifer Nou & John Rappaport. I doubt there are many conservatives that are members of the American Constitution Society.
Also regarding him, according to his questionnaire senator Tester reached out to him about the 9th circuit vacancy. From that date until the announcement was about six months. He interviewed with senator Daines so he can’t say he wasn’t consulted.
Another blue state that has Democrat appointed conservatives on its highest court. In Delaware it’s mandated to have a partisan balance by their constitution. Every member of the Delaware SCOTUS was appointed by a Democrat. This simply wouldn’t happen in a red state.
Every state should have these rules, IMO. I agree though that red states wouldn’t go for it.
@Dequan All signs are that the Delaware Supreme Court ruling banning mail in ballots was unanimous meaning Montgomery- Reeves voted to ban them. Shame on her. I no longer care if she is confirmed or not when she is going to help boost the GOP narrative that any vote not done in person is fraudulent and that 2020 was rigged. If she is going to rule that way on the Third Circuit, good lord. She’ll be a lock for the conservative block. Biden should have picked someone else.
Thankfully in PA, all the Dems on our Supreme Court rejected the same Republican lies and mail in voting is still in place.
I saw that it was unanimous but I wasn’t sure if it was 5-0 or 4-0 & she didn’t participate. Do you know if she is still hearing cases? I honestly don’t know the answer but if you are right & it was 5-0 then yes, shame on her. This would have been a perfect time to be the lone dissenter but once again I’m not sure if she participated or has stoped hearing cars pending her confirmation like other judges have done.
I found the ruling online, it was very brief. I didn’t see Tamika Montgomery Reeves listed, so she may not have participated in this ruling.
Yea if I had to bet, I would say it was a 4-0 decision & not 5-0. It’s more than likely she has stopped hearing controversial cases if not all cases until her confirmation. She gains nothing by participating in hit button cases before her vote & stands everything to lose by participating.
It turns out we were right, Tamika Montgomery Reeves did not participate in this ruling. A member of state Superior Court, Jan Jurden, sat in for her.
Here’s the article:
I may not be a lawyer but I have a Masters in common sense… Haaaaa
Supreme Court of Delaware
Absolutely shameful ruling. But what else would you expect from a court comprised such as this?
I really hope that this adds to the impetus to change the state’s constitution.
@Frank, by your admission, this indeed would not fly in red states. So what’s the practical effect of this nonsense? We’d live in a country where all blue states will have to follow your BS wish and Georgia keeps its courts full of 30-something GOPers, right?
I would like to say Democrats are bringing a knife to a gun fight when it comes to state SCOTUS’s but it’s probably more like they are bringing a plastic spoon to a gun fight.
First, we got blue states like Delaware & New Jersey that have built in disadvantages in their constitutions. Then we have states like New York that have commissions giving the governor old prosecutors to chose from. Then you got states like California where the governor choices 60 year olds & then when they have a chance to pick chief justices, pass up on progressive choices for moderates. Even where things are pretty good like Pennsylvania & Colorado, you still have a Democrat governor that has put a Republican on the bench. It’s sad
Why is it shameful to follow the constitution, as the court did in this case? The fact that the decision was unanimous should tell you that this law needed to be struck down.
And no, there is no practical effect of my wish, but the 30-something GOPers are by and large not qualified. I am glad that Democrats by and large don’t nominate such hacks.
The problem is the 30’s & 40’s GOP hacks votes are just as legitimate as the 50’s & 60’s Democrats votes. The difference is the GOP judges are on the bench a decade or two longer. That’s one of the reason why we got to a 6-3 conservative SCOTUS majority even though Democrats have won the presidential popular vote all but once since 1992. That’s why 230 Trump judges will continue to vote down many of the legislation Biden & the Democrats pass.
If we were talking about state courts that have mandatory retirement ages (Delaware does not have one), then youth wouldn’t be a premium. But that’s not the reality we live in so sadly she matters.
Wouldn’t youth matter more when there are mandatory retirement ages? Because when there is a mandatory requirement age, when you know a nominee’s age you know their expiration date. Youth wouldn’t matter so much though if there were term limits rather than mandatory retirement ages.
When you have mandatory retirement ages then I believe youth matters less. If you put a 60-year-old on the bench & the mandatory retirement age is 75 then you know they are going to retire in 15 years. But if you don’t have a mandatory age like federal judges, then you run a higher risk of that judge trying to hold on too long & then dying or retiring under somebody in the other party that can name their replacement.
But don’t get me wrong, I want young progressives in both cases… Lol