Senate confirms Piedmont judge to federal bench

The U.S. Senate voted 89-6 this morning to confirm Alameda County Superior Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers as Northern California’s first Latina U.S. District Judge.

Yvonne Gonzalez RogersPresident Barack Obama had nominated Rogers, 46, of Piedmont in May and the Senate Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing in July, at which U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., had praised her as an “intelligent, balanced, reasonable” attorney; lauded her “extraordinary record” of community service; and described her as “an outstanding Superior Court judge, handling substantial criminal and civil caseloads” who would “be a fine addition to the federal bench.”

Rogers has served as a state judge since her July 2008 appointment by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. She also served as a pro tem judge from 2007 to 2008 and a member of the civil grand jury from 2005 to 2007, serving as forewoman from 2006 to 2007.

Earlier, she was in private practice at the law firm of Cooley Godward LLP in San Francisco from 1991 to 2003, where she was an equity partner from 1999 to 2001. She earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in 1987 from Princeton University and her law degree in 1991 from the University of Texas School of Law. The San Antonio, Texas native is registered to vote as a Democrat.

Her husband, Matt Rogers, served on Obama’s transition team when he was elected and later was a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu where he helped manage more than $36 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act economic stimulus funds, including the loan guarantee to now-bankrupt solar manufacturer Solyndra of Fremont; he left the Obama administration in September 2010. The couple has three children.

She is expected to receive her commission shortly and will fill a judgeship
vacant since Feb. 28, when Chief District Judge Vaughn R. Walker retired. Federal trial court judges earn an annual salary of $174,000 — a pay cut from her superior court judge’s salary of $178,789.

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.