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News Posted on February 15, 2011

UC Davis School of Law to Host Ninth Circuit

For the first time, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the nation's largest federal appeals court, will hold a special sitting at UC Davis School of Law on March 15.

The panel before whom oral arguments will be held consists of Circuit Judges William A. Fletcher and Milan D. Smith, Jr., and United States District Judge George H. Wu, sitting by designation.  The session is scheduled for 10 am to 1 pm in the newly built Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom in the Law School's Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall on the UC Davis campus. The judges will reconvene in the Kalmanovitz Courtroom at approximately 2 pm for a question-and-answer session. 

"We are pleased and honored to host this session of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, one of the nation's most influential courts, in the new Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom," said Kevin R. Johnson, Dean of UC Davis School of Law.  "This promises to be a true learning experience for our students as well as a proud day for UC Davis."

The largest of the 13 federal courts of appeals, the Ninth Circuit is headquartered in San Francisco and regularly holds hearings there as well as in Pasadena, Seattle, Portland,  and at other locations within  its jurisdiction.  The Ninth Circuit hears appeals of cases decided by federal trial courts or state courts in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, as well as the U.S. Territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  It has 29 active judgeships, and cases are heard generally by three-judge panels. 

Cases scheduled to be argued on March 15 at UC Davis include Rodas-Valdez v. Holder, Kaur v. Holder, United States v. Biurquez-Zaragoza, San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water v. USA, Mastro v. Momot, and Momot v. Mastro.  Seating in the Kalmanovitz Courtroom is expected to be very limited, but arrangements are being made to make the proceedings available via the many video screens throughout King Hall. 

Doors to the Kalmanovitz Courtroom will open one half hour prior to the 10 am session.  Photo identification is required for entry, and all attendees will be subject to the Ninth Circuit's security protocol and conduct guidelines.  Cameras, backpacks, purses, bags, laptops, or electronic equipment are not allowed (except for cell phones, which must be turned off). Audience members may enter or exit only when the Court is not on the bench or in between the cases being heard, and silence must be maintained while the Court is in session.  No food or drink will be allowed inside the courtroom.  Courtroom attire will be required.

Additional biographical information about the panel follows:

  • The Honorable William A. Fletcher, whowas nominated to the Ninth Circuit by President Bill Clinton on January 7, 1997, to a seat vacated by William Albert Norris and confirmed by the Senate on October 8, 1998. He graduated with honors from Harvard College in 1968 before attending Oxford as a Rhodes scholar the following year. He served two years in the U.S. Navy before attending Yale Law School, where he graduated with honors in 1975. He served as a clerk to federal District Court Judge Stanley Weigel in San Francisco and U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr., then joined the faculty at UC Berkeley School of law in 1977. Judge Fletcher is 65 years old and resides in San Francisco. His mother, the Honorable Betty B. Fletcher, has been a Ninth Circuit judge since 1979, and has visited the Law School to judge the Neumiller Moot Court Competition. His sister, Susan Fletcher French, was a member of the UC Davis School of Law faculty during the late 1970s and now teaches at UCLA School of Law. UC Davis School of Law Professor Katherine Florey clerked for Judge Fletcher in 2004-05.
  • The Honorable Milan D. Smith, Jr., whowas nominated to the Ninth Circuit by President George W. Bush on February 14, 2006, to a seat vacated by A. Wallace Tashima and confirmed by the Senate on May 16, 2006. He earned his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University, graduating cum laude in 1966, and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School in 1969. After graduation, he worked in private practice in Los Angeles until his appointment to the Ninth Circuit, specializing in corporate, real estate, and secured financing law. He was appointed to the governing board of the Los Angeles State Building Authority in 1984 by Governor George Deukmejian and serves as its president-general counsel. He also served as vice chairman of the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission from 1987-1991. Judge Smith is 68 years old and resides in El Segundo.
  • The Honorable George H. Wu, who was nominated to the United States District Court by President George W. Bush on January 9, 2007, to a seat vacated by Ronald S.W. Lew and confirmed by the Senate on March 27, 2007. He graduated from Pomona College in1972 and earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1975, then served as a clerk for the Honorable Stanley N. Barnes of the Ninth Circuit. Prior to his federal appointment, Judge Wu served for 10 years as a Superior Court Judge in Los Angeles County, and for three years as a Municipal Court Judge in Los Angeles. He has also practiced law with a private firm in Los Angeles and taught at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Judge Wu is 60 years old and lives in Los Angeles.

For more details, please visit the Law School event page: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Oral Arguments