U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke on the Senate floor to applaud the confirmation of four judges to serve on California’s federal district courts.
During his remarks, Padilla applauded the confirmation of Judge Daniel Calabretta, who was confirmed in February to serve on the District Court for the Eastern District of California; Araceli Martinez-Olguin, who will serve on the District Court for the Northern District of California; Judge James Simmons, Jr, who was confirmed last week to serve on the District Court for the Southern District of California; and Judge Andrew Schopler, who was confirmed to serve on the District Court for the Southern District of California.
“One month ago, we celebrated a landmark achievement of the Biden Presidency: 100 federal judges confirmed. That’s worth celebrating for all Americans,” Senator Padilla said. “From the moment President Biden entered office, he set out to nominate candidates with a diverse range of legal and life experience. I’m grateful for all four of these newly confirmed judges’ willingness to serve our country, and I know California and the country will be a stronger, more just place because of them.”
Senator Padilla is committed to rebuilding a federal judiciary that better reflects and understands the America it serves. Within weeks of being sworn into the Senate, Padilla established a Judicial Evaluation Commission that is approximately 70 percent attorneys of color and a majority women to evaluate candidates for federal judicial vacancies in California. Senator Padilla has worked closely with the Biden administration to recommend and support the nominations of highly-qualified, outstanding judges to the federal courts.
Padilla’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:
I rise today to celebrate the confirmation of four qualified, exemplary public servants who will now serve as district court judges in the state of California.
One month ago, we celebrated a landmark achievement of the Biden Presidency: 100 federal judges confirmed.
That’s worth celebrating for all Americans.
Because from the moment President Biden entered office, he set out to nominate candidates with a diverse range of legal and life experience.
To build a federal bench that looks like America.
With the confirmation of Judge Daniel Calabretta, Ms. Araceli Martinez-Olguin, Judge James Simmons Jr., and Judge Andrew Schopler, we are once again fulfilling that commitment, and putting forth the best the great state of California — and our country — have to offer.
Earlier this year we confirmed Judge Daniel Calabretta to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.
Judge Calabretta is an exceptional nominee with the qualifications to serve the Eastern District with distinction.
He earned his B.A. from Princeton University and his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.
Since then, his nearly two-decade legal career has been defined by a commitment to serving the public’s interest.
Before he was appointed to the California Superior Court in 2019, his career spanned from the California Department of Justice to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and from Sacramento to the Supreme Court.
In each and every role, he’s demonstrated a keen legal mind and a clear commitment to justice.
But beyond his exceptional legal credentials, he brings a valuable diversity of life experience to the Eastern District — a court with one of highest average per judge workloads in the country.
Judge Calabretta’s confirmation makes him the first openly gay man to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, bringing a voice and experience not yet represented in such an important role.
I’m confident that his experience, his acumen, and his judgment will make him an asset to the millions of people he’ll now serve.
Two weeks ago this body confirmed Araceli Martinez-Olguin to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Born in Mexico City and raised in Northern California, Ms. Martinez-Olguin received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University.
She then returned home to California to work as a Kindergarten teacher, before attending the UC Berkeley School of Law.
She’s spent her entire career representing those who are all too often overlooked by the legal system — immigrants, low-income women, and women of color.
Ms. Martinez-Olguin has experience at community legal services organizations, the Department of Education, and the National Immigration Law Center.
She has litigated at every level of our federal courts, in states across the country, and has established herself as a respected leader and expert in the legal community.
Her commitment to fighting for the greater good, her decency, and her experience will serve the Northern District well, and I thank my colleagues for supporting her nomination.
Just last week we confirmed Judge James Simmons, Jr. to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
Born in Inglewood, California, Judge Simmons was raised by a single mother in the proud, working-class and multiracial community of South Central Los Angeles.
Judge Simmons was the first person in his family to graduate from college when he earned his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley, and then later his J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law.
Soon after, he became a deputy city attorney in San Diego, before working his way up to serve as deputy district attorney for San Diego County for over a decade.
In 2017, Judge Simmons was appointed to the Superior Court of San Diego County.
Looking back, when asked why he wanted to become a prosecutor in the first place, Judge Simmons says it’s because that’s where he could do the most good;
And because he felt it was important for people like him to bring their experiences and backgrounds to the role, with an understanding for defendants with backgrounds similar to his own.
Judge Simmons will now bring his good work to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
And finally, last week we also confirmed Judge Andrew Schopler to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
Judge Schopler earned his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, and his JD from Harvard Law School.
He then worked briefly as a public defender, before joining a criminal defense law firm.
In 2004, he earned his spot as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of California, where he served until 2016, eventually rising to the position of Deputy Section Chief of the Major Frauds and Special Prosecutions Unit.
Given his exemplary work ethic, he was then selected to serve as magistrate judge in the Southern District.
But his service to our country extends beyond the bench.
In 2014, at 43 years of age, Judge Schopler chose to join the California National Guard as a Judge Advocate.
After obtaining an age and medical waiver to serve, in 2018 he deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Freedom Sentinel.
He earned the Bronze Star for his service, and was promoted to the rank of Major.
He has committed his career to protecting our freedoms at home and abroad, and I’m proud that this body came together to support his confirmation.
I’m grateful for all four of these newly confirmed judges’ willingness to serve our country, and I know California and the country will be a stronger, more just place because of them.
Thank you, Madam President, and I yield the floor.