Michelle Friedland

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Michelle Taryn Friedland
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Assumed office
April 29, 2014
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byRaymond C. Fisher
Personal details
Born (1972-07-04) July 4, 1972 (age 48)
Berkeley, California
EducationStanford University
(BA, JD)
University of Oxford

Michelle Taryn Friedland (born July 4, 1972) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


Early life and education[edit]

Friedland was born in Berkeley, California.[1] She graduated from The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.[2] She received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology in 1995 from Stanford University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. She then studied philosophy at Wolfson College, Oxford as a Fulbright Scholar, returning to California for law school. She received a Juris Doctor in 2000 from Stanford Law School, graduating Order of the Coif and second in her class.[3] She served as a law clerk to Judge David Tatel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and then served as a law clerk to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor of the United States Supreme Court. She completed a two-year lectureship at Stanford Law School before entering private practice.[4]

Professional career[edit]

Before her confirmation, Friedland served as a litigation partner in the San Francisco office of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP. She joined the firm in 2004 as an associate, becoming a partner in January 2010. She has extensive litigation experience at the state and federal trial court and appellate levels, including litigating before the United States Supreme Court.[1][4]

During her legal career, Friedland represented a number of corporate clients in cases involving a wide range of legal issues, including antitrust, tax, patent, copyright, and consumer class actions. She also frequently represented the University of California in cases involving constitutional issues. She maintained an active pro bono practice. The State Bar of California named a Munger team including Friedland a recipient of the 2013 President’s Pro Bono Service Award.[5] Friedland also has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia Law School, teaching a course on constitutional issues in higher education.[4]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Friedland being applauded by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (Ret.) after being administered the oath of office (June 13, 2014)

On August 1, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Friedland to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[1] She fills the seat that was vacated by Judge Raymond C. Fisher, who took senior status on March 31, 2013.[4] On January 16, 2014, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to forward her nomination to the full Senate in a 14–3 committee vote. Cloture was filed on her nomination on April 8, 2014. On April 10, 2014, the motion to invoke cloture was agreed to by a vote of 56–41.[6] On April 28, 2014 her nomination was confirmed by a final vote of 51–40.[7] She received her judicial commission on April 29, 2014.[8] Justice Sandra Day O'Connor administered the oath of office to Friedland at her formal investiture on June 13, 2014, in the James R. Browning United States Court of Appeals Building in San Francisco. At the time of her appointment Friedland, then 41, ranked fourth among the youngest appointees to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.[9]

Friedland taking her seat as Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit

Notable case[edit]

On February 4, 2017, Friedland and Judge William Canby rejected[10] the Trump administration's request for an administrative stay[11] of the district court's temporary restraining order in State of Washington v. Trump, part of the ongoing court cases related to Executive Order 13769, pending full review in the Ninth Circuit. On February 7, Friedland, Canby, and Judge Richard Clifton heard oral arguments on the emergency motion to stay, with an audio feed[12] of the telephonic argument broadcast nationwide.[13][14] On February 9, the three judges denied the request for a stay of the temporary restraining order.[15][16]

On July 3, 2019, in a follow-up ruling, Friedland and Richard R. Clifton upheld a district court's halting of parts of Donald Trump's wall. N. Randy Smith issued a dissent, and on July 26, the Supreme Court overturned Friedland and Clifton by a 5-3 vote on ideological lines with Stephen Breyer saying he would temporarily block the construction of the wall but allow funding to be set aside for it. [17] [18]


Friedland is married to Daniel Kelly.[19]


  1. ^ a b c Dolan, Maura (August 1, 2013). "Two lawyers from same California firm nominated for 9th Circuit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  2. ^ https://www.pingry.org/uploaded/Student_Life/Publications/Review/review-mar2014.pdf
  3. ^ "Biography at Munger, Tolles and Olsen LLP". Archived from the original on 2013-08-14.
  4. ^ a b c d "President Obama Nominates Three to Serve on the United States Courts of Appeals". 1 August 2013.
  5. ^ "President's Pro Bono Service 2013". The State Bar of California.
  6. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress – 2nd Session". Vote Summary: Vote Number 106. United States Senate. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  7. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress – 2nd Session". Vote Summary: Vote Number 108. United States Senate. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Friedland, Michelle Taryn – Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
  9. ^ "Senate Confirms Michelle T. Friedland to Seat on Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals" (PDF). Public Information Office. United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  10. ^ Canby, William; Friedland, Michelle (February 4, 2017). "Order denying immediate administrative stay pending full consideration of the emergency motion for stay and setting schedule" (PDF). Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  11. ^ Francisco, Noel (February 4, 2017). "Emergency Motion Under Circuit Rule 27–3 for Administrative Stay and Motion for Stay Pending Appeal" (PDF). Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  12. ^ United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2017-02-07), 17-35105 State of Washington, et al. v. Donald J. Trump et al., retrieved 2017-02-09
  13. ^ Liptak, Adam (2017-02-06). "Justice Department Urges Appeals Court to Reinstate Trump's Travel Ban". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  14. ^ "Motions Panel". www.ca9.uscourts.gov. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  15. ^ Liptak, Adam (2017-02-09). "Court Refuses to Reinstate Travel Ban, Dealing Trump Another Legal Loss". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  16. ^ "Published Order Denying Stay" (PDF). Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. February 9, 2017. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  17. ^ http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2019/07/03/19-16102.pdf
  18. ^ Liptak, Adam (July 26, 2019). "Supreme Court Lets Trump Proceed on Border Wall" – via NYTimes.com.
  19. ^ "WEDDINGS; Michelle Friedland, Daniel Kelly". New York Times. June 18, 2000.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Raymond C. Fisher
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit