Press Releases

Washington—U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement today after the Senate confirmed William Orrick to be a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of California:

“Bill Orrick was raised in San Francisco, where his family has a long and distinguished pedigree in the legal community.

I happen to have known the nominee’s father, William Orrick Jr., who was a highly-respected Federal judge in San Francisco. The firm Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe—which his grandfather founded—is pristine in San Francisco.

I strongly urge my colleagues to support Bill Orrick’s nomination. He has proven throughout his career that he has the intellect, skill, and temperament to do an outstanding job on the Federal bench in San Francisco.

Mr. Orrick earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Yale and his law degree from Boston College. He then represented low-income clients in Georgia for five years.

After that, he came home to San Francisco, where he practiced commercial litigation for 25 years at Coblentz, Patch, Duffy, & Bass. He primarily practiced in the field of employment defense.

In 2009, he joined the Justice Department, where he worked in the Civil Division and oversaw the Office of Immigration Litigation.

As an attorney at the Justice Department, Mr. Orrick’s job has been to represent his client zealously and professionally—and he has done so.

The Office of Immigration Litigation is in the business of defending the government’s position in cases in which an alien is seeking to prevent removal from this country. The Office also defends the government in cases when an alien brings a challenge to the length or conditions of detention. That means that Orrick’s primary task was to litigate against aliens in Federal court.

Mr. Orrick has also been called upon to represent the Department of Justice in other cases, including those challenging state immigration laws like those in Arizona and Alabama on Federal preemption grounds.

In these cases and others, Mr. Orrick dutifully and faithfully executed his duty to advance the position of the United States Government.

Mr. Orrick’s record speaks for itself. He is seasoned. He has over three decades of experience in legal practice, faithfully representing his private and governmental clients. He has been rated “well qualified” by the American Bar Association.

I will close with a few remarks on the confirmation process. Mr. Orrick’s confirmation is a long time coming.

He was first nominated nearly a year ago, and first approved by the Judiciary Committee on August 2, 2012—with the support of Senators Kyl and Graham.

When the 112th Congress recessed, other nominees who were reported by the Judiciary Committee before the August recess were confirmed.

But not Mr. Orrick. He had to be renominated. His nomination had to be reported by the Judiciary Committee again. His nomination has only now come to the floor—nearly a year after his first nomination.

This is a real shame. The Northern District of California is in a judicial emergency, as declared by the Judiciary Conference of the United States, as are all judicial districts in California.

The Northern District has 675 weighted filings per judgeship, making its caseload 30 percent above the national average. A civil case takes nearly 3 years to get to trial—up nearly 50 percent from a year ago.

When well-qualified nominees like Bill Orrick are held up, judicial emergencies like those California continues to face year after year are only exacerbated.

So, I am very pleased Bill Orrick will be confirmed, and I thank my colleagues on the Republican side for agreeing to schedule a vote on his nomination.

I simply believe—strongly—that he could and should have been confirmed sooner by this body.”