Josephine Staton

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Josephine Laura Staton
Federal District Judge Josephine L. Staton.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California
Assumed office
June 22, 2010
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byAlicemarie Huber Stotler
Judge of the Orange County Superior Court
In office
Appointed byGray Davis
Preceded byRichard Fybel
Personal details
Born1961 (age 57–58)
St. Louis, Missouri
EducationWilliam Jewell College (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)

Josephine Laura Staton (born 1961) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Staton graduated from Lindbergh High School (St. Louis, Missouri), earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1983 from William Jewell College and obtained a Juris Doctor in 1986 from Harvard Law School.[1][2][3] From 1986 until 1987, Staton was a law clerk for Judge John R. Gibson on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.[1][4][5]

Professional career[edit]

From 1987 until 2002, Staton was an attorney with the San Francisco and Newport Beach offices of the law firm Morrison & Foerster, first as an associate (1987–1994) and then as a partner (1995–2002).[1] In 2002, Staton became a Superior Court judge in Orange County, California, based in Santa Ana.[1] She was appointed to the position by Governor Gray Davis to fill the vacancy created when Judge Richard D. Fybel was elevated to the California Court of Appeal in Orange County.[6][5]

Federal judicial service[edit]

On February 4, 2010, President Obama nominated Staton to fill the vacancy in the Central District created by Judge Alicemarie Stotler taking senior status in January 2009.[7] On March 18, 2010, the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary reported Staton's nomination to the full Senate, which unanimously confirmed Staton on June 21, 2010, in a voice vote.[8] She received her commission on June 22, 2010. Staton was appointed to the bench under the name of Josephine Staton Tucker and served under that name until September 20, 2013.[5]

Notable cases[edit]

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association[edit]

Judge Staton presided over a challenge brought by several Orange County public school teachers to the California Teachers Union's exclusive bargaining system on constitutional grounds. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed her ruling in favor of the teachers union,[9] and this ruling was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a divided 4-4 per curiam decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Ass'n.[10] Justice Scalia had been the expected 5th vote to overturn the controlling 1977 Abood decision, but his 2016 death shortly after the case was argued meant there was a deadlocked decision.[11]

Afghan Family Travel Ban Case[edit]

In the wake of President Donald Trump's controversial Executive Order 13769 restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, certain individuals with valid U.S. visas continued to be detained at borders and airports despite a nationwide temporary restraining order having been issued by U.S. District Judge James Robart in Washington v. Trump. In a case that drew international attention, Judge Staton issued an emergency temporary restraining order on March 4, 2017, to prevent an Afghan family from being separated—and the wife and three small children sent to a detention facility in Texas—after all five had arrived at Los Angeles International Airport with Special Immigrant Visas and were detained for almost two days without access to counsel.[12] Judge Staton held a hearing on March 6, 2017, after which the Department of Homeland Security released the family for provisional resettlement in Washington state [13] and ultimately granted them permanent residency status.[14] Special immigrant visas were created for citizens from Iraq and Afghanistan whose lives were at risk because they had worked for the U.S. military or government, and the visa requires intense State Department vetting and interviews before being approved. At the hearing it was revealed that the visas had been issued because the father had worked for the U.S. military in Afghanistan for more than 10 years and had received death threats from the Taliban.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d President Obama Nominates Four to Serve on the United States District Court Bench Archived 2010-05-15 at the Wayback Machine, (February 4, 2010).
  2. ^ "Josephine L. Staton". OVGuide. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  3. ^ "Josephine Laura Staton Judge Profile on".
  4. ^ Dena Bunis, Senate sends O.C. judge to federal bench, The Orange County Register (June 21, 2010).
  5. ^ a b c "Staton, Josephine L. – Federal Judicial Center".
  6. ^ Allison Lomas, Davis Appoints Attorneys With Diverse Careers to Southern California Courts, Metropolitan News-Enterprise (October 21, 2002).
  7. ^ Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate 2/4/10 Archived 2010-02-10 at the Wayback Machine, (February 4, 2010).
  8. ^ "Breaking the Logjam of Nominations to the Federal Trial Courts Breaking the Logjam of Nominations to the Federal Trial Courts – University of Richmond".
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association".
  11. ^ Liptak, Adam (29 March 2016). "Victory for Unions as Supreme Court, Scalia Gone, Ties 4–4" – via
  12. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (4 March 2017). "An Afghan Family, With Visas in Hand, Is Detained in Los Angeles" – via
  13. ^ a b Carcamo, Cindy (6 March 2017). "Afghan family detained in L.A. despite having special visas will be freed" – via
  14. ^ Etehad, Melissa (18 April 2017). "Afghan family detained at LAX is granted permanent residency" – via

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Alicemarie Huber Stotler
Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California