Judge John Hinderaker – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has generally supported President Trump’s judicial nominees, backing Arizona nominee Michael Liburdi even as many liberals actively opposed him.  Her relationship with the Administration has resulted in the nomination of her recommendation: Judge John Hinderaker.

Background

John Charles Hinderaker was born in 1968 in Indio, CA.  Hinderaker graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara in 1991 and then from the University of Arizona College of Law n 1996.[1]

After graduation, Hinderaker clerked for Judges John Roll and Raymond Terlizzi on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. He then joined the Tucson office of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP as an Associate.[2]  In 2003, he became a Partner with their office.  In 2018, Hinderaker was appointed to the Pima County Superior Court by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.[3]  He continues to serve on that Court.

History of the Seat

Hinderaker has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.  This seat opened on March 4, 2019, when Judge Raner Collins moved to senior status.

In May 2019, Hinderaker was contacted by the Office of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to inquire as to his interest in a federal appointment.[4]  Hinderaker was recommended to the White House for appointment in late July 2019.  Hinderaker interviewed with the White House Counsel’s Office on August 14, 2019.  President Trump nominated him on December 2, 2019.

Legal Career

Hinderaker has spent virtually his entire pre-bench career as an attorney with Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP.  At the firm, Hinderaker worked primarily with complex civil litigation, focusing on issues of land use, property law, contract law, and torts.[5]

Notably, Hinderaker represented the City of Tucson in seeking to condemn a parcel of real property in order to widen the road.[6]  He also represented Walmart in defending against a tort suit brought by a woman who was attacked in the Walmart parking lot.[7] 

Jurisprudence

Hinderaker has served as a Superior Court judge since her appointment in 2018.  In this role, he serves as a primary trial judge, supervising criminal and civil cases.  Over the last year on the bench, Hinderaker has presided over approximately 19 cases that have proceeded to verdict or judgment.[8]  Among her more notable decisions, Hinderaker sentenced a man sentenced a man to eight years in prison for driving a vehicle while intoxicated and killing a bicyclist in an accident.[9]  Furthermore, given his short tenure on the bench, Hinderaker has never been reversed by a higher court.

Political Activity

While Hinderaker is a Democrat, he was appointed as a district judge by a Republican Governor.[10]  He also has a mixed contribution history, having contributed both to Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords and Republican congressional candidate Lea Marquez Petersen.[11]

Overall Assessment

As Hinderaker is a Democrat appointed by a Republican president and supported by his Democratic and Republican home state senators, he is likely to have a relatively uncontroversial nomination.


[1] Sen. Comm. on the Judiciary, 116th Cong., John Hinderaker: Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees 1.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] See id. at 49.

[5] Id. at 31.

[6] City of Tucson v. Han, No. C20151491 (Ariz. Super. Ct.).

[7] Sklias v. WalMart, No. C20145321 (Ariz. Super. Ct.).

[8] See Hinderaker, supra n. 1 at 16.

[9] State v. Corral, CR2016-3731-001 (Ariz. Super. Ct. 2018).

[10] Jeremy Duda, Judicial Nominees Announced, Yellow Sheet Report, Dec. 19, 2017.