Obama picks South Bay judge for federal bench

Judge Lucy KohPresident Barack Obama today nominated Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Lucy H. Koh, 41, of Stanford, to a seat on the U.S. District Court for California’s Northern District.

Before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named her to the Superior Court bench in January 2008, Koh was an in private practice in Palo Alto as a litigation partner representing technology companies in patent, trade secret, and commercial civil matters. Earlier yet, she was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in California’s Central District from 1997 to 2000, and a special assistant to the U.S. Deputy Attorney General in Washington, D.C., from 1996 to 1997 and special counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice from 1994 to 1996.

She’s a former member of the Board of Directors of the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California who earned her B.A. from Harvard University in 1990 and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1993. A Democrat, her nomination to this lifetime appointment is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Her annual salary as a Superior Court judge is $178,789; a federal judge earns an annual salary of $169,300.

UPDATE @ 5:22 P.M.: U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who says she recommended Koh’s nomination to the White House after a thorough interview and vetting process by her judicial advisory committee for the Northern District, is “so pleased.”

“Judge Koh brings a wide range of experience – not only as a judge, but as a federal prosecutor and a litigator in private practice – that makes her an outstanding nominee,” Boxer said. “When she is confirmed, Judge Koh will make history as the first female Korean-American District Court Judge in the country.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.