Nominees For Federal Judgeships Get Nod From Senate Judiciary Committee

Three nominees for federal judgeships in San Francisco and San Jose moved a step closer to taking the bench when they won approval from U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

The committee sent President Obama’s nominations of Deputy San Francisco City Attorney Vince Chhabria, San Francisco attorney James Donato and San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Beth Freeman to the full Senate.

All three were nominated to the U.S. District Court for Northern California by Obama last year and were approved by the committee but were never given a vote by the full Senate before the congressional session ended. Obama re-nominated them this month.

The U.S. District Court is based in San Francisco and has branches in Oakland and San Jose. Chhabria and Donato were nominated for seats in San Francisco and Freeman for a post in San Jose.

Chhabria, Donato and Freeman were among 29 nominees to federal trial and appeals courts who were cleared by the committee Thursday.

The group also included two nominees to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which handles appeals from federal district courts in nine western states.

The appeals court nominees are attorneys Michelle Friedland of San Francisco and John Owens of Los Angeles. Both are partners in the Los Angeles law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP.

The chances of Obama’s nominees being confirmed by the full Senate increased after the Senate voted in November to eliminate filibusters on judicial nominees.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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