William Haskell Alsup

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William Haskell Alsup
William Alsup District Judge.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Assumed office
August 17, 1999
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Thelton Eugene Henderson
Personal details
Born 1945 (age 71–72)
Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.
Alma mater Mississippi State University (B.S.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.) and (M.P.P.)

William Haskell Alsup (born 1945) is a United States federal judge.[1]

Early Life and Career[edit]

Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Alsup received a B.S. in mathematics[2] from Mississippi State University in 1967, a J.D. from Harvard University in 1971, and an M.P.P. from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1971.

He was a law clerk to Justice William O. Douglas of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1971 to 1972.[3] Alsup was in private practice in San Francisco, California from 1972 to 1978, and was then an Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General in the United States Department of Justice from 1978 to 1980. He returned to his private practice in San Francisco from 1980 to 1998, when he briefly served as a special counsel in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice in 1998. He was again in private practice in San Francisco from 1998 to 1999.[4]

Tenure as Federal Judge[edit]

On March 24, 1999, Alsup was nominated by President Bill Clinton to a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California vacated by Thelton Eugene Henderson.[4] Alsup was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 30, 1999, and received his commission on August 17, 1999.

Alsup was the presiding judge over Oracle America, Inc. v. Google, Inc.,[5] where he notably has been able to comment on issues relating to coding and programming languages, specifically Java. He learned the Java programming language solely for the purpose of being able to understand the case more clearly.[6] However, the Federal Circuit overturned his rejection of the copyrightability of Java API.[7]

He was also the presiding judge in what is believed to be the first trial against the U.S. no-fly policy, where he ruled that, "[t]he government's administrative remedies fall short of such relief (providing for the correction of mistaken information) and do not supply sufficient due process."[8]

Awards and recognition[edit]

2013: Tara L. Riedley Barristers Choice Award, Bar Association of San Francisco
2013: Award of recognition from Lewis and Clark Law School.[9]



  1. ^ http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/wha
  2. ^ Dotinga, William (May 17, 2012). "Oracle & Google Debate Road Map". Courthouse News. Retrieved June 1, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Supreme Court Historical Society - Journal of Supreme Court History". supremecourthistory.org. Retrieved 2016-06-22. 
  4. ^ a b "Alsup, William [WHA] | United States District Court, Northern District of California". www.cand.uscourts.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-22. 
  5. ^ Gershman, Jacob. "Google and Oracle Agree Not to Research Jurors Online Ahead of Major Trial". WSJ. Retrieved 2016-06-22. 
  6. ^ Garling, Caleb (May 15, 2012). "Oracle Goes for Broke in Court Battle With Google". Wired. Retrieved June 1, 2012. 
  7. ^ Oracle America, Inc. v. Google, Inc., May 9, 2014 Fed Cir. Retrieved on May 9, 2014.
  8. ^ http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/14/us-usa-noflylist-ruling-idUSBREA0D1MC20140114
  9. ^ United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit 2013 Annual Report
Legal offices
Preceded by
Thelton Eugene Henderson
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California