Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today applauded Senate approval of Judge Dale A. Drozd’s nomination to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of California.
“With 18 years of experience as a magistrate judge in the Eastern District, one of the busiest federal courts in the country, Judge Drozd is well-prepared to serve as a U.S. District Judge,” said Senator Feinstein. “He is respected by his colleagues in the legal community. Five former U.S. attorneys, who served in both Republican and Democratic administrations, supported his nomination. I’m confident Judge Drozd will hit the ground running in his new role.”
Feinstein’s full statement for the record in support of Judge Drozd follows:
“Mr. President, I rise in strong support of the nomination of Dale Drozd to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.
“Judge Drozd earned his Bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from San Diego State University in 1977, and his law degree from UCLA in 1980, where he was inducted into the Order of the Coif.
“He began his legal career as a law clerk for a district judge in the same judicial district where he now serves.
“Following his clerkship, Judge Drozd worked as a criminal and civil litigator in federal and state courts at the trial and appellate levels for 14 years.
“Then, in 1997, Judge Drozd was appointed to serve as a Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of California.
“In 2011, he became the Chief Magistrate Judge in that court.
“Over his 18-year career as a Magistrate Judge, he has presided over thousands of cases.
“He is well regarded in the legal community and among those who appear before him on a daily basis. The ABA has rated Judge Drozd “well qualified”, its highest rating.
“Five different United States Attorneys who served under both Republican and Democratic administrations over more than 20 years have endorsed his nomination.
“Those former United States Attorneys include David F. Levi, who later served on the District Court and is now Dean of Duke Law School, as well as George O’Connell, Charles Stevens, Paul Seave, and McGregor Scott.
“Their letter states: “[w]e have all known Judge Drozd for many years and are also aware of his judicial reputation in the community. He is an effective, productive, fair, and balanced jurist who is widely respected in this district.”
“Their letter further recognized Judge Drozd as “an outstanding magistrate judge,” and went on to state that “he will be equally effective as a district judge.”
“The president of the Sacramento chapter of the Federal Bar Association wrote to the Judiciary Committee in support of this nomination.
“That letter notes that, although it is not typical for the Federal Bar Association “to endorse a particular candidate or nomination,” Judge Drozd’s nomination is “uniquely easy to support.”
“The letter further stated that Judge Drozd “is widely respected in our district and commands a high level of respect from attorneys who appear before him.”
“I would also add a point from the U.S. Attorneys’ letter about the crushing caseload in this district.
“Their letter states: “[o]ur district has an extremely heavy case load and has been operating with a vacant judgeship for two and a half years. It is vitally important to the fair administration of justice that the long-vacant judicial vacancy in our Fresno district be promptly filled.”
“This is a point that bears repeating: the case load in the Eastern District of California is extraordinarily large, and has been for many years.
“This district covers Sacramento and California’s Central Valley, including Fresno and Bakersfield – it covers 55 percent of California’s land area.
“The district has only six judgeships for a population of nearly eight million people, and it has almost two times as many people per judgeship as the average U.S. district court.
“Over the last six years, the court has had nearly three times as many pending cases per judgeship (more than 1400) than the national average (569).
“These numbers translate into lengthy times for cases to be resolved. Over the last several years, it has taken between 38 and 51 months for civil cases to get to trial – well above the national average of 26 months.
“Criminal cases now take over 20 months to be resolved currently, almost three times the national average of 7.4 months.
“The point is this: the Eastern District of California is in serious need of additional judges. I have worked for many years to create those positions, and I believe very strongly that they are needed.
“Today, I am pleased that the Senate is taking the small step of voting on this nomination.
“I urge my colleagues to confirm Judge Drozd to the Eastern District of California.
“Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.”