District Judge Claudia Wilken Is New District Chief Judge Effective September 1, 2012
Effective Saturday, September 1, District Judge Claudia Wilken becomes Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, replacing retiring District Judge James Ware as chief.
By statute, United States district chief judges are selected based on a combination of age, seniority and experience and may serve in the post for a maximum of 7 years. 28 U.S.C. § 136. By application of this statute, Judge Wilken is the next district judge eligible to serve as chief upon Judge Ware’s retirement.
Judge Ware has been a United States district judge since 1990 and has served as chief since January 1, 2011. Before becoming a federal judge, Judge Ware practiced law in Palo Alto, California and served for two years as a judge of the Superior Court in Santa Clara County.
According to Chief Judge Ware, "Providing leadership to the Court in my capacity as Chief Judge has been an extremely rewarding part of my judicial career. I wish to thank and commend my colleagues, my staff and the talented and diverse employees of the Clerk's Office, the Probation Office, the Pretrial Services Office and the Public Defender as well as the Marshals Service, the United States Attorney and the bar of this Court. It is good to know that the Court is in such good hands as I prepare to pass the leadership of the Court to Judge Wilken."
Upon leaving the bench, Judge Ware plans to join JAMS in San Francisco beginning September 4th, 2012. Judge Ware’s remaining cases will be randomly assigned to other judges.
For case assignment purposes, Judge Wilken will remain in the Oakland Division of the Court. All cases now pending before Judge Wilken will therefore be unaffected by her change in status.
About becoming Chief Judge, Judge Wilken notes: “I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to serve this outstanding federal court in this new capacity. I look forward to working with my colleagues and our court staff to maintain and improve the services the court offers to the public even in the face of the significant budget constraints facing the United States Courts.”