Obama Nominates L.A. Attorney Paul Watford to the Ninth Circuit

By Robyn Hagan Cain on October 18, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals isn't just a prestigious promotion for judges and law professors: Practicing attorneys can also be nominated to the bench.

President Obama nominated Los Angeles attorney Paul Watford to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today.

Watford, widely viewed as a moderate, has support across the ideological spectrum, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Watford, is an Orange County native, attended the University of California at Berkeley (BA, '89) and UCLA School of Law (JD, '94). After law school, he clerked for Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Watford is currently a partner at Munger, Tolles, and Olson LLP. He previously worked as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California, and as an associate at Sidley & Austin LLP in Los Angeles.

Watford hasn't completely steered clear of the classroom since law school. While he's not a recognized legal scholar like failed-Ninth Circuit nominee (and current California Supreme Court member) Goodwin Liu, Watford spent two years as a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California's Gould School of Law, teaching an upper-level course in judicial opinion writing.

Obama praised Watford in a White House statement today, saying, ""He will be a diligent, judicious and esteemed addition to the Ninth Circuit bench."

There are three nominees currently awaiting confirmation to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Obama nominated Alaska Supreme Court Justice Morgan Christen and District Judge Jacqueline Nguyen to the appellate bench in May and September, respectively.

If confirmed, Paul Watford will fill Judge Pamela Rymer's seat on the Ninth Circuit. Judge Rymer passed away in September after a two-year battle with cancer.

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