Padilla Speaks on Confirmation of Three Federal Judges to California District Courts
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke on the Senate floor in support of the confirmation of three highly qualified nominees to serve on the federal bench in California. The slate of nominees includes Judge Wesley Hsu, confirmed to serve on the United States District Court for the Central District of California; Judge Hernán Vera, confirmed to serve on the District Court for the Central District of California; and Casey Pitts, confirmed to serve on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
“Over the past two and a half years, Senate Democrats have worked closely with President Biden to confirm a record number of federal judges,” said Senator Padilla. “I have made it a personal priority in the Senate to try to fulfill the expectations of Americans all across the country, who deserve a trusted, highly qualified, and yes, diverse federal judiciary. With these three confirmations, we’re proving that our judiciary benefits when people from diverse backgrounds are on the federal bench.”
Senator Padilla is committed to contributing to a federal judiciary that better reflects and understands the America it serves. Within weeks of being sworn in to the Senate, Padilla established a Judicial Evaluation Commission that is approximately 70 percent attorneys of color and a majority women, coming from various professional backgrounds, to evaluate candidates for federal judicial vacancies in California. Padilla has worked closely with the Biden administration to recommend and support the nominations of highly-qualified, outstanding judges to the federal courts.
Remarks, as delivered, are below:
I rise today on behalf of the great state of California to celebrate several newly confirmed United States District Court judges. I’m proud to say that just three months after I celebrated the confirmation of four highly-qualified federal judges for the state of California, three more have now been confirmed. Today, I hope to share a bit more about each of their stories, their breadth of experience, and their history of dedicated public service.
Early last month, I was proud to see Judge Wesley Hsu confirmed to serve on the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Judge Hsu’s path to the federal bench is a story of hard work, remarkable intelligence, and truly a case study in the American Dream. His father fled communist China, traveling 70 miles to the coast with his mother and developmentally disabled brother as a child. Both of Judge Hsu’s parents eventually immigrated to the United States to attend graduate school at Kansas State University, before moving to California where Judge Hsu grew up. After earning both his undergraduate degree and his J.D. from Yale, he worked as a law clerk on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California—the same court on which he now serves as a Judge. He later served for over a decade and a half as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California in the Criminal Division. And from 2017 until recently, Judge Hsu served as a judge on the Los Angeles County Superior Court presiding over the family law and criminal divisions.
And I have no doubt that Judge Hsu’s strong qualifications and his deep experience in the Central District will make him an exemplary District Court judge.
That was early last month. Yesterday, we confirmed Judge Hernán Vera—another devoted jurist slated to serve on the District Court for the Central District of California. The son of Argentine immigrants, Judge Vera earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and his J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. Since then, he’s had a diverse legal career—from corporate law to serving for 12 years at Public Counsel—our nation’s largest pro bono law firm. As director—and then CEO—of the Consumer Law Project, Judge Vera worked tirelessly on behalf of consumers, veterans, the elderly, and the working poor. In 2020, Judge Vera was appointed to the California Superior Court for Los Angeles County, where he adjudicated child dependency cases. In every respect, Judge Vera stands out in California’s legal community. His diverse legal and professional experiences make him a welcome addition to the Central District’s bench.
And finally, earlier this afternoon—just a couple hours ago—we confirmed Casey Pitts to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Born in Minnesota and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, Pitts attended Yale University, and later Yale School of Law. After law school, he came out west to serve as a law clerk on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for Judge Stephen Reinhardt, before joining the public interest law firm Altshuler Berzon where he’s been ever since. He’s represented workers, consumers, and public interest groups, fighting to protect the lives—and livelihoods—of Americans, and to help shape how and for whom our economy and courts work. Casey will be the only LGBTQ Article Three judge currently serving on the District Court for the Northern District of California. His life experience, his credentials, and his record of fighting for the American people will no doubt make him a phenomenal jurist, and I’m proud to see him confirmed as well.
Mr. President, over the past two and a half years, Senate Democrats have worked closely with President Biden to confirm a record number of federal judges. I have made it a personal priority in the Senate to try to fulfill the expectations of Americans all across the country, who deserve a trusted, highly qualified, and yes, diverse federal judiciary.
With these three confirmations, we’re proving that our judiciary benefits when people from diverse backgrounds are on the federal bench. Whether the child of immigrants who sought a better life in America or an LGBTQ kid from Fargo, North Dakota; whether an assistant U.S. Attorney or a lawyer defending consumers and veterans—all these backgrounds should be represented in our judiciary.
I can’t say this often enough. Our nation is beautifully diverse. And we are a stronger nation because of it. And so it should be for our federal judiciary. So, I thank my colleagues for confirming these three nominations. And I’m grateful to each and every one of them for their public service on behalf of our nation.
Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.