Padilla, Feinstein Applaud Four Nominations for California-Based Federal Judgeships
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein (both D-Calif.), members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement after the White House announced that President Biden nominated four individuals to judgeships on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Judge Sherilyn Peace Garnett, Judge Kenly Kiya Kato, Judge Fred Slaughter, and Judge Sunshine Suzanne Sykes. Judge Sykes, if confirmed, would be the first Native American to serve as a federal judge in California and the first Article III judge from the Navajo Nation.
“We applaud President Biden’s nomination of four outstanding individuals to serve on California’s district courts. These smart and capable nominees will bring diverse expertise to the federal bench and strengthen our judiciary.
“California has been in a judicial emergency with the most overcrowded dockets in the country. Over the past year, we have worked closely with President Biden and our Senate colleagues to nominate judges who bring a wealth of experience as well as personal and professional diversity to the federal bench. Today’s nominees reflect that critical mission and will help deliver on the promise of equal justice for all.”
Judge Sherilyn Peace Garnett: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Central District of California
Judge Sherilyn Peace Garnett has served as a California Superior Court Judge on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County since 2014. From 2001 to 2014, Judge Garnett served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California in the Criminal Division. Judge Garnett served as Chief of the General Crimes Section in 2014, Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Section from 2011 to 2014, and as the Domestic Terrorism Coordinator for the Central District of California from 2008 to 2011. From 1999 to 2000, Judge Garnett was a litigation associate at Arnold & Porter in Los Angeles. Judge Garnett began her career as a litigation associate at Altheimer & Gray in Chicago from 1995 to 1998. Judge Garnett served as a law clerk for Judge Barry T. Moskowitz on the United States District Court for the Southern District of California from 1998 to 1999.
Judge Garnett received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1995 and her B.A., with honors, from the University of California at Riverside in 1991.
Judge Kenly Kiya Kato: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Central District of California
Judge Kenly Kiya Kato has served as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Central District of California since 2014. From 2004 to 2014, Judge Kato was a solo practitioner, representing clients in civil and criminal cases. From 2003 to 2004, Judge Kato was an associate at Liner LLP in Los Angeles. From 1997 to 2003, she was a Deputy Federal Public Defender in the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Los Angeles. Judge Kato served as a law clerk for Judge Robert M. Takasugi of the United States District Court for the Central District of California from 1996 to 1997.
Judge Kato received her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1996 and her B.A., summa cum laude, from UCLA in 1993.
Judge Fred W. Slaughter: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Central District of California
Judge Fred W. Slaughter has served as a California Superior Court Judge on the Superior Court of Orange County since 2014. From 2002 to 2014, Judge Slaughter served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the criminal sections of three federal districts in the Ninth Circuit: the Central District of California from 2004 to 2008 and from 2010 to 2014; the District of Oregon from 2008 to 2010; and the District of Arizona from 2002 to 2004. While working in the Central District of California, Judge Slaughter also served as the Project Safe Neighborhoods Coordinator from 2004 to 2006 and the Deputy Chief for the Santa Ana Branch Office from 2012 to 2013. From 2000 to 2002, Judge Slaughter served as a Deputy City Attorney for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. Judge Slaughter served as a law clerk for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office’s criminal and airport divisions in 1999.
Judge Slaughter received his J.D. from UCLA Law School in 1999 and his B.A. from UCLA in 1996.
Judge Sunshine Suzanne Sykes: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Central District of California
Judge Sunshine Suzanne Sykes has served as a California Superior Court Judge on the Superior Court of Riverside County since 2013. She currently presides over a civil litigation department and is the presiding judge of the appellate division. From 2005 to 2013, Judge Sykes served as a Deputy County Counsel in the Office of County Counsel for Riverside County, handling litigation on behalf of government entities and serving as a juvenile dependency trial attorney representing the California Department of Public Social Services on matters concerning abused and neglected children. From 2003 to 2005, Judge Sykes worked as a contract attorney for the Juvenile Defense Panel at the Southwest Justice Center. From 2001 to 2003, she was a staff attorney for California Indian Legal Services. Judge Sykes is a member of the Navajo Nation and is a descendant of the Coyote Pass-Jemez Clan.
Judge Sykes received her J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2001 and her B.A from Stanford University in 1997.