William Orrick III

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William Orrick III
Judge William H. Orrick, III.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Assumed office
May 16, 2013
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byCharles R. Breyer
Personal details
William Horsley Orrick III

(1953-05-15) May 15, 1953 (age 66)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
FatherWilliam H. Orrick Jr.
RelativesHoward Christian Naffziger (grandfather)
Andrew Downey Orrick (uncle)
EducationYale University (B.A.)
Boston College Law School (J.D.)

William Horsley Orrick III (born May 15, 1953) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He formerly served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice.


Orrick was born in San Francisco, California on May 15, 1953.[1][2] He received his Bachelor of Arts cum laude, from Yale University in 1976. He received his Juris Doctor cum laude, from Boston College Law School in 1979. After graduating, he worked for the Georgia Legal Services Program from 1979 to 1984. He joined the San Francisco law firm of Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP in 1984 and continued there for twenty five years, becoming a partner in 1988. From June 2009 to June 2010, he served as counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice. From 2010 to 2012, he served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division.[3] He is a former head of DOJ's Office of Immigration Litigation. [4] He briefly rejoined Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP as special counsel, before accepting appointment to District Court.[5]

His father, William H. Orrick, Jr., was a United States District Judge for the Northern District of California and served as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division in the Kennedy Administration. His uncle, Andrew Downey Orrick, was acting Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in San Francisco.

Federal judicial service[edit]

On June 11, 2012, President Obama nominated Orrick to be a United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, to the seat vacated by Judge Charles R. Breyer, who took senior status on December 31, 2011.[6] The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on his nomination on July 11, 2012, and reported it to the floor on August 2, 2012.[7] On January 2, 2013, his nomination was returned to the President, due to the adjournment sine die of the Senate. On January 3, 2013, he was renominated to the same office. His nomination was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 28, 2013, by a vote of 11 ayes to 7 nays, mostly along party lines, except that Republican Senator Jeff Flake voted aye.[8] The U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination on May 15, 2013, by a vote of 56 ayes to 41 nays.[9] He received his commission on May 16, 2013.[5]

Notable cases[edit]

On July 31, 2015, Orrick blocked the release of videos of Planned Parenthood, granting the injunction requested by the National Abortion Federation.[10] Because The Center for Medical Progress allegedly illegally recorded undercover videos that plaintiffs claimed were heavily edited to purport to show that Planned Parenthood had been inappropriately selling fetal tissue, Orrick issued a restraining order. He said that he reached his decision due to concerns over the physical safety of the executive leadership of the National Abortion Federation. Orrick wrote, “NAF would be likely to suffer irreparable injury, absent an ex parte temporary restraining order, in the form of harassment, intimidation, violence, invasion of privacy, and injury to reputation, and the requested relief is in the public interest.”[11] He scheduled a contempt hearing for June 14, 2017, for the defendants' attorneys, due to a violation of his restraining order.[12]

On April 25, 2017, Orrick stayed the implementation of the Trump administration's Executive Order 13768 to withhold funding from sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities, saying Trump had no authority to attach new conditions to federal spending.[13][14] On November 20, 2017, Orrick found that Section 9(a) of the Executive Order was unconstitutional on its face and issued a permanent nationwide injunction against its implementation.[15] The judgment concluded:

The Counties have demonstrated that the Executive Order has caused and will cause them constitutional injuries by violating the separation of powers doctrine and depriving them of their Tenth and Fifth Amendment rights. Accordingly, the Counties' motions for summary judgment are GRANTED regarding Section 9(a). The defendants are permanently enjoined from enforcing Section 9(a) of the Executive Order against jursisdictions they deem as sanctuary jurisdictions. Because Section 9(a) is unconstitutional on its face, and not simply in its application to the plaintiffs here, a nationwide injunction against the defendants other than President Trump is appropriate.

— Judge William Orrick, County of Santa Clara v. Trump, at p. 28.[16]

On June 9, 2017, during a segment of Tucker Carlson Tonight,[17] David Daleiden alleged that Judge Orrick had lied about his close association with a Planned Parenthood group during his 2013 U.S. Senate confirmation hearing.

Campaign contributions[edit]

According to the Public Citizen, a non-profit, consumer rights advocacy group, Orrick III, who was employed by the law firm Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass, raised at least $200,000 for Barack Obama[18] and donated $30,800 to committees supporting him.


  1. ^ "Senate Judiciary Committee Questionnaire" (PDF).
  2. ^ "SF Lawyer Follows Father's Footsteps in Federal Judgeship" The San Francisco Appeal
  3. ^ "Coblentz – San Francisco Law Firms".
  4. ^ "California v. Sessions, Dec. 21, 2018".
  5. ^ a b "Orrick, William Horsley III – Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
  6. ^ "President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the US District Court". 11 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Results of Executive Business Meeting – August 2, 2012" (PDF).
  8. ^ "President Obama Re-nominates Thirty-Three to Federal Judgeships". 3 January 2013.
  9. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress – 1st Session".
  10. ^ Hemmingway, Mollie (July 31, 2015). "Obama Appointee Blocks More Video Releases By Group Behind Planned Parenthood Sting". The Federalist. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  11. ^ Scott, Eugene (2015-08-15). "Judge issues restraining order against anti-abortion group". CNN. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  12. ^ Davis Man Could Be Held In Contempt Over Links To Anti-Abortion Videos, CBS, May 25, 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  13. ^ Kopan, Tal (2017-04-25). "Judge blocks part of Trump's sanctuary cities executive order". CNN. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  14. ^ Yee, Vivian (2017-04-25). "Judge Blocks Trump Effort to Withhold Money From Sanctuary Cities". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  15. ^ Visser, Nick (November 21, 2017). "Judge Permanently Blocks Trump's Executive Order On Sanctuary Cities". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on November 24, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  16. ^ County of Santa Clara v. Trump (17-cv-00485-WHO), p. 28 (N.D. Cal. November 20, 2017). Text
  17. ^ Judge Block Videos YouTube, June 9, 2017
  18. ^ "Public Citizen". Retrieved November 28, 2018.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Charles R. Breyer
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California

[[Category:Yale University Judge William Orrick, who presided over the federal trial in Planned Parenthood’s civil lawsuit against the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), “is actually the founder of a Planned Parenthood of Northern California clinic in San Francisco,” said CMP founder and president David Daleiden in a Friday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host Rick Manning.

Daleiden said, “Planned Parenthood, very intentionally and very strategically and with a lot of gamesmanship, filed this case specifically to get it in San Francisco in front of Judge William Orrick, who is an Obama appointee, who was a bundler for the Obama campaign for hundreds of thousands of dollars, is best friends with Tom Steyer — who’s currently running for president, now — and Judge Orrick is actually the founder of a Planned Parenthood of Northern California clinic in San Francisco.”


Daleiden added, “We tried to get him recused from this case several times a couple of years ago, and each time he or his peers in the federal judicial system looked the other way and kept him on, and Judge Orrick basically predetermined the outcome of this case from the very beginning of the trial.”

Orrick prohibited the jury from viewing the entirety of undercover video captured during the CMP investigation, Daleiden explained.

“[William Orrick] worked overtime, hand-in-glove with Planned Parenthood for the past six weeks to try to influence the way that the jury was thinking about the issues, even going so far as to block the jury from watching the full recorded conversations from the undercover videos [that were] allegedly, according to Planned Parenthood, private conversations,” stated Daleiden.

Daleiden remarked, “[Planned Parenthood argued that] confidentiality was breached by recording them. The jury wasn’t even allowed to listen to the conversations that were recorded on video camera to decide whether or not these were truly private and confidential conversations. The Planned Parenthood judge blocked them from seeing that evidence.”

Via statement on CMP’s website, Daleiden assessed the verdict:

Justice was not done today in San Francisco. While top Planned Parenthood witnesses spent six weeks testifying under oath that the undercover videos are true and Planned Parenthood sold fetal organs on a quid pro quo basis, a biased judge with close Planned Parenthood ties spent six weeks influencing the jury with pre-determined rulings and suppressing the video evidence, all in order to rubber-stamp Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit attack on the First Amendment. This is a dangerous precedent for citizen journalism and First Amendment civil rights across the country, sending a message that speaking truth and facts to criticize the powerful is no longer protected by our institutions.

CMP’s undercover investigation discovered Planned Parenthood’s harvesting and sale of fetal organs and tissue from aborted children.

Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125 weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern or 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.