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Obama nominates L.A. judge for federal court position

November 14, 2012 |  3:16 pm

President Obama nominated Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell to be a federal judge in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, and he encouraged the Senate on Wednesday to move quickly to confirm her and seven other court nominees.

Currently, there are more than 100 vacancies on the federal bench nationwide. In recent months, Senate Republicans had blocked further confirmations, awaiting the outcome of the election.

“Too many of our courtrooms stand empty. I hope the Senate will promptly consider all of my nominees and ensure justice for everyday Americans,” Obama said.

O’Connell has been a Superior Court judge since 2005. Before taking her seat on the bench, she was an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles and worked for a time in the organized crime and terrorism section. She earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a law degree from the Pepperdine School of Law in 1990.  

“We are so glad to see President Obama take such decisive and needed action today to help end the vacancy crisis,” said Caroline Frederickson, president of the American Constitution Society. “We are hopeful the Senate will act promptly and demonstrate a move toward renewed bipartisanship both in the lame duck and the 113th Congress.”

She noted that 19 judicial nominees are awaiting a final confirmation vote, and she urged their approval during the lame duck session.

The Asian American Justice Center also took note of Obama’s choice of Derrick Kahala Watson to serve as a federal district judge in Hawaii.

"If confirmed, he will be the only person of native Hawaiian ancestry on the federal bench,” said Wendy Shiba, president-elect of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Assn.


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-- David Savage in Washington