Senate fills 9th Circuit bench for first time in 22 years
The Senate on Monday confirmed San Francisco attorney Michelle Friedland to a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals - filling the bench for the first time since 1992. The vote was 51-40.
Friedland's confirmation means the Ninth Circuit will operate with its full complement of 29 appeals court judges for the first time since Congress expanded the bench to 29 judges in 2009. Congress expanded the circuit to 28 judges in 1984.
The Ninth Circuit has not operated with a full bench since 1992.
President Obama nominated Friedland on Aug. 1, 2013, but the Senate failed to act. Obama renominated her in January.
Friedland, 41, has been a litigation partner in Munger, Tolles & Olson since 2010, focusing on antitrust law, appeals and constitutional and academic affairs litigation. She joined the firm in 2004.
Friedland was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in 2001-02, and lectured at Stanford Law School from 2002 to 2004.
She graduated from Stanford in 1995, went to Oxford on a Fulbright, and graduate second in her class from Stanford Law School in 2000.
The Ninth Circuit had 12,826 new case filings in fiscal year 2013 - 458 for each of its 28 judges.