The San Francisco legal community gathered recently to celebrate the appointment of District Judge Vince Chhabria, newly seated on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
Judge Chhabria was ceremonially inducted into office on June 12, 2014, at the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. A large crowd of family, friends and colleagues was on hand for the ceremony and a reception that followed at the San Francisco City Hall, where Judge Chhabria had worked as a deputy city attorney prior to his appointment to the federal bench.
Circuit Judge Gregg Costa of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit administered the oath of office to Judge Chhabria. The two men have been friends since working together at the U.S. Supreme Court, where Judge Chhabria clerked for Justice Stephen G. Breyer and Judge Costa for the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.
Speakers included Judge Chhabria's wife, Amy Krause; District Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District, for whom Judge Chhabria also clerked; and San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera. Judge Chhabria was helped into his black robe by his parents, Camille and Joe Chhabria.
Judge Chhabria, 44, is one of three new judges appointed to the Northern District bench this year by President Obama. Confirmed by the Senate on March 5, 2014, he filled judgeship vacant since July 1, 2013, when District Judge Susan Illston assumed senior status. He maintains chambers in San Francisco.
During his tenure as a deputy city attorney, which began in 2005, Judge Chhabria had been responsible for government litigation and served as co-chief of appellate litigation. Prior to government service, he had worked as a litigation associate in the San Francisco law firms of Covington & Burling LLP and Keker & Van Nest LLP from 2002 to 2004 and in 2001, respectively.
A San Francisco native, Judge Chhabria received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1991 and his J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law in 1998. After law school, he clerked for Judge Breyer from 1998 to 1999; for the late Chief Judge Emeritus James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1999 to 2000; and for Justice Breyer from 2001 to 2002.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California had 6,854 new case filings in fiscal year 2013. The court is authorized 14 judgeships, all of which are currently filled.
Appointed under Article III of the Constitution, federal district court judges are nominated by the president, confirmed by the Senate and serve lifetime appointments upon good behavior.
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District Judge Vince Chhabria receives the oath of office from Circuit Judge Gregg Costa of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, top. Judges filled the bench of the Northern District's Ceremonial Proceedings Courtroom, below.