Committee approves new NorCal U.S. Attorney

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously today to approve the nomination of Melinda Haag to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, this region’s top federal prosecutor. President Barack Obama nominated Haag, 48, to the post in March; she now awaits a vote of the full Senate.

“She has more than two decades of experience handling white collar crime cases, which will be a tremendous asset to the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in a news release; Boxer recommended Haag’s nomination to the White House after she was interviewed and vetted by a bipartisan advisory committee.

Melinda HaagHaag since 2003 has been a partner at San Francisco-based Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; she’s in the White Collar Criminal Defense and Corporate Investigations Group, which handles cases involving fraud, antitrust violations, environmental crimes, health care fraud and other corporate matters.

Earlier she was recruited by former U.S. Attorney and current FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve in the San Francisco U.S. Attorney’s Office, where she headed the White Collar Crime Unit and was the deputy chief of the General Crimes Unit. Haag also has worked as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California San Diego and a law degree at from the UC Berkeley Boalt Hall Law School.

The Northern District of California stretches from the Monterey Coast in the south to California’s northern border with Oregon and from the Pacific Ocean in the west nearly to Sacramento in the east. More than 7.3 million people live in the district.

UPDATE @ 12:54 P.M. FRIDAY: The full Senate confirmed Haag later yesterday by unanimous consent, without debate.

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.