As expected, San Jose-based U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, one of the most influential federal judges in Silicon Valley, was nominated Thursday to the nation's largest federal appeals court.
San Jose Judge Lucy Koh nominated to federal appeals court
News broke earlier this month that the White House intended to nominate Koh, who has served as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of California since 2010, to the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. President Barack Obama officially nominated Koh on Thursday.
"Judge Lucy Haeran Koh has distinguished herself as a first-rate jurist with unflagging integrity and evenhandedness," President Obama said. "I am grateful for her service to the state of California and look forward to adding her considerable wisdom and experience to the Ninth Circuit Court."
Judge Lucy Haeran Koh: Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Judge Lucy Haeran Koh has served as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of California since 2010 and previously served as a California Superior Court Judge for Santa Clara County from 2008 to 2010.
Judge Koh was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Columbia, Maryland, Lorman and Vicksburg, Mississippi and Norman, Oklahoma. She received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Harvard University in 1990, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1993. Judge Koh began her legal career as a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow for the United States Senate Judiciary Committee from 1993 to 1994. Following her fellowship, she worked for the United States Department of Justice, serving first as Special Counsel in the Office of Legislative Affairs, from 1994 to 1996, and then as Special Assistant to the Deputy Attorney General, from 1996 to 1997. From 1997 to 2000, Judge Koh served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. There, she was awarded, among several recognitions, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Louis J. Freeh Award for Demonstrated Excellence in Prosecuting a Major Criminal Case. From 2000 to 2002, she worked as a senior associate in the Palo Alto, California office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. From 2002 to 2008, she worked as a partner in the Palo Alto, California office of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, specializing in patent, trade secret, and commercial civil litigation. In 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her to the California Superior Court for Santa Clara County, where she served until she was appointed to the federal bench in 2010.
Judge Koh has served on a number of bar and professional organizations throughout her legal career, including the American Law Institute, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley.
When Koh joined the federal bench in 2010, she became the Bay Area's first Asian American judge and the first female Korean American federal judge in the nation. If confirmed to the Ninth Circuit, she would be only the second judge of Korean ancestry on an appeals court.
But Judge Koh's nomination, along with several other of President Obama's picks for federal appeals courts in recent months, faces an uphill battle amid a planned Senate Republican backlash against any nominee the White House puts forth for the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia. A confirmation is going to be tough.
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