President Obama won a small victory in the U.S. Senate last week as Alaska Supreme Court Justice Morgan Christen was confirmed for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Justice Christen is the second of President Obama's six nominees to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to be confirmed. Judge Mary Murguia was the first judge to earn that distinction.
Some Conservatives opposed Justice Christen's nomination based on her private practice work for Planned Parenthood and against Big Oil after the Exxon-Valdez spill, reports the Los Angeles Times. After 202 days of judicial limbo, the Senate confirmed Justice Christen for the Ninth Circuit bench in a 95-3 vote; Senators Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, and David Vitter opposed Justice Christen's confirmation.
Christen will fill Andrew Jay Kleinfeld's seat on the Ninth Circuit bench.
Born and raised in Washington, Christen attended the University of Washington (BA '83) and Golden Gate University School of Law (JD '86). She practiced with Preston Thorgrimson Ellis & Holman, (now K&L Gates LLP), where she eventually earned partnership, from 1987 until 2001.
Justice Christen was appointed the Alaska Superior Court in 2001, and became the presiding judge of the state's Third Judicial District in 2005. In 2009, then-Governor Sarah Palin appointed Justice Christen to the Alaska Supreme Court.
There are still three Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judicial nominees awaiting Senate votes: President Obama nominated District Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, Los Angeles attorney Paul Watford, and Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Hurwitz to the appellate bench in September, October, and November, respectively.
For more news and information from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, including updates on newly confirmed Judge Morgan Christen, add FindLaw's Ninth Circuit blog to your RSS feed.
December 23, 2011 Editors Note: This post has been updated to reflect that there are three Ninth Circuit nominees awaiting Senate votes, not Senate confirmation hearings. Two of the nominees, Judge Jacqueline Nguyen and Paul Watford, have had Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.
- President Obama Nominates Justice Morgan Christen for the United States Court of Appeals (White House)
- Obama Nominates L.A. Attorney Paul Watford to the Ninth Circuit (FindLaw's Ninth Circuit blog)
- Panel Unlikely to Find Judicial Misconduct in Cal Prop 8 Appeal (FindLaw's Ninth Circuit blog)