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White House Nominates Partners from Munger, Tolles & Olson to the 9th Circuit

On Thursday, the White House announced the nominations of two partners from the San Francisco based law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. While the nominations still need Senate approval, they are not expected to meet any serious opposition.

Munger, Tolles & Olson seems to have gained the President’s favor when it comes to nominations to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Paul Watford of the 9th Circuit was also picked by the President from the same law firm.

The new nominations to the 9th Circuit include Munger partner Michelle Friedland who had been prominently involved in litigation against the gay marriage ban in California. Friedland had previously clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Friedland has been actively involved in litigating for gay rights and helping to defend a state law that prohibits attempts to change the sexual orientation of minors by mental health professionals. She has also been instrumental in challenging Proposition 8.



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Though the nominations are expected to move smoothly forward, Friedland’s past work on same-sex couples and gay rights may face questions from conservatives.

The other Munger, Tolles & Olson partner nominated by the President to the second 9th Circuit vacancy is John Owens.

Mr. Owens is a former federal prosecutor and was previously the chief of the criminal division in the San Diego U.S. Attorney Office. He has a long track record of serving in the Department of Justice and previously clerked under U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The 9th Circuit is the largest appeals court in the country and defines federal law in nine states including California.

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