United States District Court for the Southern District of California

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United States District Court for the Southern District of California
(S.D. Cal.)
Appeals to Ninth Circuit
Established September 28, 1850
Judges assigned 13
Chief Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz

The United States District Court for the Southern District of California (in case citations, S.D. Cal.) is a federal court in the Ninth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

The District was created on September 28, 1850, following California statehood on September 9, 1850. The state was divided into a Northern and Southern district. The Judicial Circuits Act of 1866 abolished the Northern and Southern districts, re-organizing California as a single circuit district. On August 5, 1886 the Southern district was re-established, following the division of the state into Northern and Southern districts. The district was further divided on March 18, 1966 with the creation of the Central and Eastern districts.[1]

The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current Acting United States Attorney is Adam L. Braverman, who was appointed on November 16, 2017.

Organization of the court[edit]

The United States District Court for the Southern District of California is one of four federal judicial districts in California.[2] Court for the District is held at El Centro and the Edward J. Schwartz U.S. Courthouse and U.S. Courthouse Annex in San Diego. The district comprises Imperial and San Diego counties.

Current judges[edit]

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
53 Chief Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz San Diego 1950 1995–present 2012–present Clinton
57 District Judge Larry Alan Burns San Diego 1954 2003–present G.W. Bush
58 District Judge Dana Makoto Sabraw San Diego 1958 2003–present G.W. Bush
59 District Judge William Q. Hayes San Diego 1956 2003–present G.W. Bush
60 District Judge John A. Houston San Diego 1952 2003–present G.W. Bush
62 District Judge Janis Lynn Sammartino San Diego 1950 2007–present G.W. Bush
63 District Judge Michael M. Anello San Diego 1943 2008–present G.W. Bush
64 District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia San Diego 1949 2011–present Obama
65 District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo San Diego 1958 2012–present Obama
66 District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel San Diego 1953 2012–present Obama
67 District Judge Cynthia Ann Bashant San Diego 1960 2014–present Obama
68 District Judge vacant
69 District Judge vacant
44 Senior Judge William Benner Enright San Diego 1925 1972–1990 1990–present Nixon
50 Senior Judge Marilyn L. Huff San Diego 1951 1991–2016 1998–2005 2016–present G.H.W. Bush
54 Senior Judge Jeffrey T. Miller San Diego 1943 1997–2010 2010–present Clinton
55 Senior Judge Thomas J. Whelan San Diego 1940 1998–2010 2010–present Clinton
56 Senior Judge M. James Lorenz San Diego 1935 1999–2009 2009–present Clinton
61 Senior Judge Roger T. Benitez San Diego 1950 2004–2017 2017–present G.W. Bush

Vacancies and pending nominations[edit]

Seat Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
15 Marilyn L. Huff Senior Status September 30, 2016
25 Roger T. Benitez Senior Status December 31, 2017
24 John A. Houston Senior Status February 6, 2018[3]

Former judges[edit]

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Jones, James McHallJames McHall Jones CA 1823–1851 1850–1851 Fillmore, Fillmore death
2 Hoffman, Jr., OgdenOgden Hoffman, Jr. CA 1822–1891 1852[4]–1854 Fillmore, Fillmore seat abolished
3 Ogier, Isaac Stockton KeithIsaac Stockton Keith Ogier CA 1819–1861 1854–1861 Pierce, Pierce death
4 Haight, Fletcher MathewsFletcher Mathews Haight CA 1799–1866 1861–1866 Lincoln, Lincoln death
5 Ross, Erskine MayoErskine Mayo Ross CA 1845–1928 1887–1895 Cleveland, Cleveland appointment to 9th Cir.
6 Wellborn, OlinOlin Wellborn CA 1843–1921 1895–1915 Cleveland, Cleveland retirement
7 Bledsoe, Benjamin FranklinBenjamin Franklin Bledsoe CA 1874–1938 1914–1925 Wilson, Wilson resignation
8 Trippet, Oscar A.Oscar A. Trippet CA 1856–1923 1915–1923 Wilson, Wilson death
9 James, William P.William P. James CA 1870–1940 1923–1940 Harding, Harding death
10 McCormick, Paul JohnPaul John McCormick CA 1879–1960 1924–1951 1948–1951 1951–1960 Coolidge, Coolidge death
11 Henning, Edward J.Edward J. Henning CA 1868–1937 1925–1929 Coolidge, Coolidge resignation
12 Cosgrave, GeorgeGeorge Cosgrave CA 1870–1945 1930–1940 1940–1945 Hoover, Hoover death
13 Hollzer, Harry AaronHarry Aaron Hollzer CA 1880–1946 1931–1946 Hoover, Hoover death
14 Stephens, Sr., Albert LeeAlbert Lee Stephens, Sr. CA 1874–1965 1935–1937 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt appointment to 9th Cir.
15 Yankwich, Leon ReneLeon Rene Yankwich CA 1888–1975 1935–1964 1951–1959 1964–1966 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt reassignment to C.D. Cal.
16 Jenney, Ralph E.Ralph E. Jenney CA 1883–1945 1937–1945 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
17 Beaumont, Campbell EbenCampbell Eben Beaumont CA 1883–1954 1939–1954 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
18 Harrison, BenjaminBenjamin Harrison CA 1888–1960 1940–1960 1959 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
19 O'Connor, James Francis ThaddeusJames Francis Thaddeus O'Connor CA 1886–1949 1940–1949 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
20 Hall, Peirson MitchellPeirson Mitchell Hall CA 1894–1979 1942–1966 1959–1964 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt reassignment to C.D. Cal.
21 Mathes, William CareyWilliam Carey Mathes CA 1899–1967 1945–1965 1964–1965 1965–1967 Truman, Truman death
22 Weinberger, JacobJacob Weinberger CA 1882–1974 1946–1958 1958–1974 Truman, Truman death
23 Carter, James MarshallJames Marshall Carter CA 1904–1979 1949–1967 1966–1967 Truman, Truman appointment to 9th Cir.
24 Westover, Harry ClayHarry Clay Westover CA 1894–1983 1949–1965 1965–1983 Truman, Truman death
25 Byrne, Sr., William MatthewWilliam Matthew Byrne, Sr. CA 1896–1974 1950–1966 1965–1966 1966 Truman, Truman reassignment to C.D. Cal.
26 Tolin, Ernest AllenErnest Allen Tolin CA 1904–1961 1951[5]–1961 Truman, Truman death
27 Jertberg, Gilbert H.Gilbert H. Jertberg CA 1897–1973 1955–1958 Eisenhower, Eisenhower appointment to 9th Cir.
28 Clarke, ThurmondThurmond Clarke CA 1902–1971 1955–1966 1966 Eisenhower, Eisenhower reassignment to C.D. Cal.
29 Kunzel, FredFred Kunzel CA 1901–1969 1959–1969 1967–1969 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
30 Crocker, Myron DonovanMyron Donovan Crocker CA 1915–2010 1959–1966 Eisenhower, Eisenhower reassignment to E.D. Cal.
31 Stephens, Jr., Albert LeeAlbert Lee Stephens, Jr. CA 1913–2001 1961–1966 Kennedy, Kennedy reassignment to C.D. Cal.
32 Carr, Charles HardyCharles Hardy Carr CA 1903–1976 1962–1966 Kennedy, Kennedy reassignment to C.D. Cal.
33 Curtis, Jr., Jesse WilliamJesse William Curtis, Jr. CA 1905–2008 1962–1966 Kennedy, Kennedy reassignment to C.D. Cal.
34 Crary, Elisha AveryElisha Avery Crary CA 1905–1978 1962–1966 Kennedy, Kennedy reassignment to C.D. Cal.
35 Whelan, Francis C.Francis C. Whelan CA 1907–1991 1964–1966 Johnson, L.L. Johnson reassignment to C.D. Cal.
36 Hill, IrvingIrving Hill CA 1915–1998 1965–1966 Johnson, L.L. Johnson reassignment to C.D. Cal.
37 Hauk, A. AndrewA. Andrew Hauk CA 1912–2004 1966 Johnson, L.L. Johnson reassignment to C.D. Cal.
38 Gray, William PercivalWilliam Percival Gray CA 1912–1992 1966 Johnson, L.L. Johnson reassignment to C.D. Cal.
39 Schwartz, Edward JosephEdward Joseph Schwartz CA 1912–2000 1968–1982 1969–1982 1982–2000 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
40 Turrentine, Howard BoydHoward Boyd Turrentine CA 1914–2010 1970–1984 1982–1984 1984–2010 Nixon, Nixon death
41 Thompson, Jr., GordonGordon Thompson, Jr. CA 1929–2015 1970–1994 1984–1991 1994–2015 Nixon, Nixon death
42 Wallace, John CliffordJohn Clifford Wallace CA 1928–present 1970–1972 Nixon, Nixon appointment to 9th Cir.
43 Nielsen, Leland ChrisLeland Chris Nielsen CA 1919–1999 1971–1985 1985–1999 Nixon, Nixon death
45 Keep, JudithJudith Keep CA 1944–2004 1980–2004 1991–1998 Carter, Carter death
46 Gilliam, Earl BenEarl Ben Gilliam CA 1931–2001 1980–1993 1993–2001 Carter, Carter death
47 Irving, J. LawrenceJ. Lawrence Irving CA 1935–present 1982–1990 Reagan, Reagan resignation
48 Rudi M. Brewster CA 1932–2012 1984–1998 1998–2012 Reagan death
49 Rhoades, Sr., John SkylsteadJohn Skylstead Rhoades, Sr. CA 1925–2007 1985–1995 1995–2007 Reagan, Reagan death
51 Gonzalez, Irma ElsaIrma Elsa Gonzalez CA 1948–present 1992–2013 2005–2012 2013 Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush retirement
52 Jones Jr., Napoleon A.Napoleon A. Jones Jr. CA 1940–2009 1994–2007 2007–2009 Clinton, Clinton death

Chief judges[edit]

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their district court, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless circuit judges are also on the panel. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the district court judges. To be chief, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position.

When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as chief judge. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become or remain chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.

Succession of seats[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/page/courts_district_ca.html U.S. District Courts of California, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center - "The act transferred to the Eastern District one judgeship from the Southern District and two from the Northern District. For the Central District, ten judgeships were transferred from the Southern District and three new judgeships were authorized."
  2. ^ 28 U.S.C. § 84
  3. ^ Future Judicial Vacancies
  4. ^ Initially appointed to the Northern District of California in 1851 by Millard Fillmore; Act of August 31, 1852 made the judge of the Northern District be judge of the Southern District as well.
  5. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on March 3, 1952, confirmed by the United States Senate on June 10, 1952, and received commission on June 11, 1952.

External links[edit]