William A. Fletcher

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William A. Fletcher
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Assumed office
October 9, 1998
Appointed byBill Clinton
Preceded byWilliam Albert Norris
Personal details
William Alan Fletcher

(1945-06-06) June 6, 1945 (age 74)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
EducationHarvard University (B.A.)
Merton College, Oxford (B.A.)
Yale Law School (J.D.)

William Alan Fletcher (born June 6, 1945) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[1]

Education and legal training[edit]

Fletcher went to Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Washington, graduating in 1964. Fletcher received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University in 1968 and another from Merton College, Oxford University in 1970 as a Rhodes Scholar. He earned his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 1975.[2] He then clerked for Judge Stanley A. Weigel from 1975 to 1976. Fletcher then clerked for Associate Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. of the United States Supreme Court from 1976 to 1977.

Fletcher's mother, Betty Binns Fletcher, was also a judge on the Ninth Circuit, although she held senior status from 1998 until her death in 2012.

Fletcher teaches Federal Courts at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall).[2]

Professional career[edit]

Fletcher was a Lieutenant in the United States Navy from 1970 to 1972 and a Professor of Law at Boalt Hall School of Law, UC Berkeley from 1977 to 1998. Fletcher was the author of the Ninth Circuit's decision in Demers v. Austin (January 2014). He also published a 100-page dissent on the decision to deny Kevin Cooper an en banc hearing.[3]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Fletcher was nominated twice by former President Bill Clinton, his Rhodes Scholar classmate at Oxford, for a seat on the Ninth Circuit vacated by William Albert Norris in April 1995, and on January 7, 1997.[4] His first nomination was never voted on by the Senate, but his second nomination was confirmed in a 57–41 vote on October 8, 1998 and he received his commission on October 9.[4]

Fletcher has made rulings on women's rights, abortion, gun control, and the conditions of detainees at the border. He is quite liberal, and considered to be 1 of the 4 most liberal judges on the 9th circuit, along with Marsha S. Berzon, Sidney Runyan Thomas, and Richard Paez. [5]

On October 22, 2002, Fletcher dissented in Jespersen v. Harrah's Operating Co. when the Ninth Circuit en banc ruled that a casino can require female workers to wear makeup.

On May 11, 2009, Fletcher wrote a 101 page dissent when the 9th circuit permitted the execution of Kevin Cooper to go forward. Fletcher noted that Cooper may have been innocent and was denied a fair trial. Fletcher also reasoned that Cooper may have been treated unfairly due to his race. He was joined by Judges Harry Pregerson, Stephen Reinhardt, Richard Paez, and Johnnie B. Rawlinson. 6 other judges also dissented in denial of rehearing and agreed or mostly agreed with Fletcher's reasoning: Alex Kozinski, Sidney Runyan Thomas, Susan P. Graber, Raymond C. Fisher, Marsha S. Berzon, and Kim McLane Wardlaw[6]

In 2016, Fletcher wrote the majority opinion in Peruta v. San Diego County, ruling that the Second Amendment did not protect the right to carry a concealed weapon. The San Diego ban on concealed weapons was upheld by a vote of 7–4.

In July 2019, Fletcher dissented when the Ninth Circuit upheld Trump's gag rule restricting abortion funding by a vote of 7–4.[7]

On August 12, 2019, Fletcher ruled that an animal does not constitute an "individual".[8]

On August 15, 2019, Fletcher was in a 3–0 majority (with Marsha S. Berzon and A. Wallace Tashima) that ruled that detained migrant children must get sleep, soap, and clean water. [9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Finn, M.T.; Irvine, D.R.; Bliss, M.L.; Pratton, G.L.; Morgan, S. (2009). The American Bench. Forster-Long. ISSN 0160-2578. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Faculty Profiles: William A. Fletcher". law.berkeley.edu. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  3. ^ "Court documents" (PDF). cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov. May 11, 2009. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  4. ^ a b Wilson, Sarah (2003). "Appelate Judicial Appointments During the Clinton Presidency: an Inside Perspective". The Journal of Appellate Practice and Process: 29–47.
  5. ^ https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/10/7/1577201/-Better-Know-a-Circuit-The-Famously-Liberal-9th-Circuit
  6. ^ http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2009/05/11/05-99004o.pdf
  7. ^ "Abortion businesses 'devastated' as Title X rule to defund goes into effect". Liveaction.org. 2019-07-16. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  8. ^ "Court documents" (PDF). cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov. August 12, 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  9. ^ 11:02 PM ET (2019-08-15). "9th Circuit Court Of Appeals Says Detained Minors Must Get Food, Soap and Water". NPR. Retrieved 2019-10-02.

External links[edit]