Obama Nominates Two for 9th Circuit / Both are partners in the same law firm ( Munger, Tolles, Olson )

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SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – President Obama on Thursday nominated attorneys Michelle T. Friedland and John B. Owens as judges for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Both are partners with Munger, Tolles & Olson.

If confirmed, Owens will fill a judgeship vacant since Dec. 31, 2004, when Judge Stephen Trott assumed senior status.

Friedland would fill a judgeship vacant since April 1 this year, when Judge Raymond Fisher assumed senior status.

Friedland, 41, joined Munger, Tolles & Olson in 2004 and became a partner in 2010. “Her practice focuses primarily on antitrust litigation, appellate matters, and constitutional and academic affairs litigation for higher education institutions,” the 9th Circuit said in a statement from its press office. She lectured at Stanford Law School from 2002 and 2004 and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor from 2001 to 2002. She got her bachelor’s degree from Stanford in 1995, spent a year at Oxford on a Fulbright, and got her J.D. at Stanford Law School in 2000.

Owens, 42, has been a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson since January 2012. “His practice focuses on representing individuals and corporations in government investigations, and conducting internal investigations into allegations of corporate misconduct,” according to the 9th Circuit press office.

He was a federal prosecutor for 11 years, focusing on white-collar and border crimes. In 2010 he became chief of the Criminal Division in the Southern District of California in San Diego.

Owens clerked for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after graduating first in his class at Stanford Law School, which he attended with a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

There are 87 vacancies on federal benches: 70 at U.S. District Courts and 17 on U.S. Courts of Appeal. The president has nominated 28 people to fill the 70 vacant slots at U.S. District Courts, and seven to fill the 17 vacancies on U.S. Courts of Appeal.

Republicans have delayed his nominations repeatedly, and Obama has not made much of an issue of it.


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