Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced the Senate confirmations of San Mateo Superior Court Judge Beth L. Freeman and James Donato, both of whom Senator Feinstein recommended to the White House for seats on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Freeman will fill a position in San Jose created when Judge Jeremy Fogel became director of the Federal Judicial Center in 2011. Donato will fill a vacancy in San Francisco created when Judge James Ware retired from the bench in August 2012.
“Beth Freeman and Jim Donato both bring strong qualifications to the federal bench,” Senator Feinstein said following their confirmation votes, “and both nominees bring extremely important experience to the Northern District.”
Both nominees will fill longstanding vacancies that have been declared “judicial emergencies” by the Judicial Conference of the United States. The seat Freeman fills has been vacant for more than 800 days. The seat Donato fills has been vacant for more than 500 days.
“Judge Freeman earned her law degree from Harvard Law School, served in San Mateo’s County Counsel’s Office for 18 years, and brings over a decade of judicial experience in San Mateo,” Feinstein continued. “Jim Donato earned his law degree from Stanford Law School, served in the San Francisco city attorney’s office, was president of the Bar Association of San Francisco and has a distinguished record at prestigious private law firms handling complex civil cases.”
Judge Beth L. Freeman earned her B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in 1976 and her law degree from Harvard Law School in 1979. After four years in private practice, she joined the San Mateo County Counsel’s Office in 1988, rising to serve as deputy county counsel. She was appointed to the San Mateo Superior Court in 2001. She served as assistant presiding judge from 2009 to 2010 and as presiding judge from 2011 to 2012. She has served in the leadership of the Junior Statesmen Foundation and Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo.
James Donato earned his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in 1983, his A.M. from Harvard University in 1984, and his law degree from Stanford Law School in 1988. He served as senior editor of the Stanford Law Review. Following law school, he clerked for Judge Procter Hug on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. From 1990 to 1993, he was an associate at Morrison & Foerster LLP. He served in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office from 1993 to 1996. He joined the firm Cooley LLP in 1996, becoming a partner in 1998. In 2009, he became a partner at Shearman & Sterling LLP. He served as president of the Bar Association of San Francisco in 2008.