Judge Stanley Blumenfeld – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Of the seven candidates nominated to California federal courts so far, Judge Stanley Blumenfeld is the only one with judicial experience, having been a judge for the last thirteen years.


Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. was born in Patchogue, NY in 1962.  Blumenfeld got a B.A. from Binghampton University in 1984, an M.A. from New York University in 1985 and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 1988.[1]  He then clerked for Judge Cynthia Holcomb Hall on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[2]

In 1989, Blumenfeld joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California as a federal prosecutor.[3]  In 1993, he moved to the Los Angeles office of O’Melveny & Myers LLP.[4]  He became a Partner with the firm in 1998.

In 2006, Blumenfeld was named by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Los Angeles Superior Court, where he currently serves.[5] 

History of the Seat

Blumenfeld has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, to a seat vacated on August 1, 2014, by Judge Audrey Collins’ move to senior status.  On July 17, 2015, President Obama nominated Judge Mark A. Young, a colleague of Blumenfeld’s on the Los Angeles Superior Court, to fill the vacancy.  While Young’s nomination was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 5, 2015, he was blocked from a final vote for over a year by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, leaving the seat open for the Trump Administration.  

In August 2017, Blumenfeld was contacted by the White House to gauge his interest in a federal judgeship.[6]  He interviewed with the White House in September 2017 and then with selection committees set up by California’s Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.[7]  In October 2018, Blumenfeld was nominated by the White House.

Legal Experience

Blumenfeld has held two primary legal positions before joining the bench: as a federal prosecutor; and as an attorney at O’Melveny & Myers.  In the former position, Blumenfeld was in the civil division, and, as such, handled civil and constitutional claims in which the federal government was the defendant.  In the latter, Blumenfeld handled commercial and environmental litigation, as well as some white collar defense.  

Blumenfeld notably represented General Telephone and Electric Co. in defending a lawsuit brought by O.J. Simpson seeking access to phone records he claimed would exonerate him.[8]  Blumenfeld was able to get the lawsuit dismissed, with Judge Dean Pregerson finding that the suit “borders on being frivolous.”[9]


Since 2006, Blumenfeld has served as a judge on the Los Angeles Superior Court.  In this role, Blumenfeld presides over trial court matters in criminal, civil, family, and other state law matters.  By his estimation, Blumenfeld has presided over around 200 trials in his judicial career.[10] 

Notably, Blumenfeld presided over the trial of the so-called “kitty litter” killer, Isaac Campbell.[11]  Campbell was so named for dumping the body of his victim into a trash can full of cat litter.[12]  Campbell was found “not guilty” of murder by a jury but was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and Blumenfeld sentenced him to the maximum penalty, 11 years in prison.[13]

In other cases, Blumenfeld has shown a willingness to impose strict criminal penalties.  For example, he sentenced Richard Tauch, convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend, to life in prison without the possibility of parole.[14]  In another case, he sentenced Carlos Andres Lopez to four years in prison for stealing a custom-made tricycle from a young boy with cerebral palsy.[15]

Political Activity

Blumenfeld is a Republican and has contributed to the campaign of President George W. Bush and to the Republican National Committee.[16]

Writings & Commentary

As a law student, Blumenfeld authored a note attempting to parse out the tension between two competing legal principles: the “master of the complaint” doctrine and the “artful pleading” doctrine.[17]  The former doctrine emphasizes the plaintiff’s right to dictate in their complaint which laws and jurisdictions they wish to avail themselves of whereas the latter allows state law claims to be moved to federal court where courts find that the complaint is essentially asserting a federal right.[18]  Blumenfeld argues in the note that the “artful pleading” doctrine serves no real purpose and undermines other legal principles that allow plaintiffs to shape “the face” of their lawsuit.[19]  As such, he recommends that the doctrine be abandoned.[20]

Overall Assessment

An overall review of Blumenfeld’s record does not suggest any characteristics that would make him controversial.  Rather, Blumenfeld was likely picked as a nominee because he was seen as acceptable to California’s Democratic senators.  However, with all California nominees in a temporary limbo, it remains to be seen if and when the confirmation process will start for Blumenfeld.

[1] Sen. Comm. on the Judiciary, 115th Cong., Stanley Blumenfeld: Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees 1.

[2] See id. at 2.

[3] See id. 

[4] His tenure at O’Melveny overlapped with that of fellow CDCA nominee Mark Scarsi.

[5] See id. 

[6] Id. at 42.

[7] Id.

[8] Linda Deutsch, Federal Judge Throws Out O.J. Simpson Lawsuit, A.P. State & Local Wire, Apr. 25, 2000.

[9] See id. (quoting Judge Dean Pregerson).

[10] See Blumenfeld, supra n. 1 at 10.

[11] People v. Campbell, No. GA0707040 (L.A. Sup. Ct.).

[12] Lauren Gold, Alhambra ‘Kitty Litter’ Killer Gets Maximum Sentence, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, July 16, 2012.

[13] See id.

[14] ALHAMBRA, Man Sentenced to Life Without Parole For Murdering Ex-Girlfriend, Her New Boyfriend, City News Service, June 19, 2014.

[15] PASADENA, Man Sentenced to Four Years in Prison For Stealing Disabled Boy’s $5300 Tricycle, City News Service, June 20, 2016.

[17] Stanley Blumenfeld Jr., Artful Pleading and Removal Jurisdiction: Ferreting out the True Nature of a Claim, 35 UCLA L. Rev. 315 (Dec. 1987).

[18] See id. at 317-20.

[19] Id. at 366-67.

[20] Id.

Mark Scarsi – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California is a very busy court.  However, it is particularly shorthanded at present, as a mix of retirements and deaths have left the court nine judges short. Ongoing negotiations between California’s Democratic senators and the White House, as well as mistrust from the White House’s Ninth Circuit nominations, have left the few district court picks in California hanging in limbo.  Among them is Mark Scarsi, an experienced intellectual property attorney in Los Angeles.


Mark Christopher Scarsi was born in Syracuse, NY in 1964.  Scarsi attended Syracuse University, getting a B.A. in 1987 and an M.S. in 1993.[1]  He then received a J.D. magna cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1996.[2]

After law school, Scarsi joined Christie, Parker & Hale LLP in Pasadena as an Associate.[3]  In 1998, he moved to the Los Angeles office of O’Melveny & Myers LLP.  He became a Partner with the firm in 2003.

In 2007, Scarsi joined Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP in L.A. as a Partner and serves as Managing Partner of the L.A. office since 2013.[4] 

History of the Seat

Scarsi has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, to a seat vacated on January 6, 2017, by Judge George King’s move to senior status.  Scarsi had broached his interest in a judicial appointment in April 2017 with the White House.[5]  He interviewed with the White House in August 2017 and then with selection committees set up by California’s Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.[6]  In October 2018, Scarsi was nominated by the White House.

Legal Experience

Scarsi has spent virtually his entire career focusing on intellectual property law, and has tried twenty eight cases throughout his career, including fifteen jury trials.[7]  Notably, Scarsi has served as Apple’s attorney in defending a number of patent infringement claims.  For example, Scarsi helped defend Apple against an infringement suit brought by California inventor Richard Ditzik based on his 1997 patent for a wireless handset device.[8]  He also represented Apple in defending a suit brought by Netairus Technologies relating to the ability of Apple smartphones to communicate with cell towers and wifi signals.[9]  He also successfully defended Apple against an infringement suit brought by Wi-LAN Inc. relating to Apple’s alleged infringement of patents relating to the use of 3G technology.[10]

In other cases, Scarsi has represented Google,[11] and Lockheed Martin.[12] 

Writings & Commentary

Scarsi has occasionally commented on issues of law and policy through his career, including weighing in on the confirmation process for Justice Elena Kagan.[13]  Notably, Scarsi expressed his optimism following the 2010 midterm elections that a divided Congress would be able to enact patent reform, stating:

“Maybe a divided Congress creates a perfect storm in which patent reform can be passed.”[14]

Overall Assessment

The White House and California’s Democratic Senators have already had some public clashes over the three California Ninth Circuit nominees confirmed so far.  While Feinstein and Harris had limited control over appellate confirmations, they have considerable power over Scarsi.  As such, his confirmation will ultimately turn on whether the White House can reach an agreement with the senators over California’s district court judges.  Such a deal may ultimately include a nominee to fill a Fourth California seat on the Ninth Circuit as well.

[1] Sen. Comm. on the Judiciary, 115th Cong., Mark Scarsi: Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees 1.

[2] See id.

[3] See id. at 2.

[4] See id. 

[5] See id. at 24.

[6] Id.

[7] Id. at 15.

[8] Jason Frankovitz, Apple Patent Trial Goes to Jury: Why Fight When You Can License, TechZulu, Nov. 20, 2013.

[9] Netairus Technologies, LLC v. Apple Inc., Civ. No. 2:10cv03257-JAK-E (C.D. Cal.), aff’d, 587 F. App’x 658 (Fed. Cir. 2014).

[10] Wi-LAN Inc. v. Apple Inc., et al., Civ. No. 2:12-cv-600-JRG (E.D. Tex.), aff’d, 811 F.3d 455 (Fed. Cir. 2016).

[11] See Callwave Communications v. Google, Inc. et al., C.A. No. 12-cv-1701, 1704, 1788-RGA, 207 F.Supp.3d 405 (D. Del. 2016).

[12] See Space Sys./Loral, Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., C-95-3530 SI (N.D. Cal.).  

[13] If I Were a Senator, I’d Ask Kagan . . . , Law360, May 10, 2010.

[14] Mark Scarsi Comments on the Impact of the Elections on Intellectual Property Law and Policy, Milbank.com, Nov. 4, 2010, https://www.milbank.com/en/news/mark-scarsi-comments-on-the-impact-of-the-elections-on.html.