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Gov. Jerry Brown's Nominees for Cal. Appeals Courts

By William Peacock, Esq. on July 10, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

There are a lot of new faces on the appeals court bench.

We've already noted that Gov. Brown will have two vacancies to fill on the California Supreme Court alone. Late last month, he also addressed a number of vacancies on the state's appeals bench, with six nominees.

All six are expected to be confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. The Commission is headed by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. The two other votes belong to Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris and a senior presiding justice of the appellate court for which the candidate has been nominated, reports the Los Angeles Times.

First District Appointments

In the First District Court of Appeal, Brown bumped Associate Justice James M. Humes to Presiding Justice of Division One. He also nominated Therese M. Stewart to Division Two.

Humes was a former staffer in Gov. Brown's administration, and was nominated to the appeals bench even though he had no prior judicial experience. After only a year and a half, he's been nominated for that division's top seat. According to the Los Angeles Times, he's also been a rumored candidate for the state's high court, though Brown is under pressure to nominate minority candidates for the two vacancies.

Stewart, 57, was one of the leaders in California's gay marriage battle and would be the state's first openly lesbian justice.

Second District Appointments

In the Second District, there were four nominations: Associate Justice Frances Rothschild as Presiding Justice for Division One, Lee S. Edmon as Presiding Justice of Division Three, Brian M. Hoffstadt to Division Two, and Judge Audrey B. Collins to Division Four.

Rothschild is more of a conventional pick than Humes: she has been on the bench since 1975, first at the Los Angeles Municipal Court, then on the L.A. County Superior Court from 1978 to 2005, and since then, on the appeals court.

Edmon, 58, also has a lot of experience on the bench, having served on the L.A. Superior Court bench since 2000 and as that court's first female presiding judge from 2011 to 2012.

Hoffstadt, at the tender age of 43, has had a long and interesting career: BigLaw at Jones Day, assistant U.S. Attorney, and since 2010, as a Superior Court judge in Los Angeles County. He's also worked for the DOJ, the FCC, and clerked for retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, as well as Ninth Circuit judge Cynthia H. Hall.

Collins, 69, is making the move from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. She's been on the bench since 1994, and was the chief judge from 2009 to 2012. Prior to donning a robe, she spent decades in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

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