WASHINGTON — President Biden on Dec. 15 announced nine new federal judicial nominees, including four judges from Southern California.
Describing the nominees as “extraordinarily qualified, experienced, and devoted to the rule of law and our Constitution,” the White House said, “These choices also continue to fulfill the president’s promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country — both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds.”
This is Biden’s 11th round of nominees for federal judicial positions, bringing the number of announced federal judicial nominees to 73.
The California nominees are:
• Judge Kenly Kiya Kato, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, has served as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Central District of California since 2014.
From 2004 to 2014, Kato was a solo practitioner, representing clients in civil and criminal cases. From 2003 to 2004, she was an associate at Liner LLP in Los Angeles. From 1997 to 2003, she was a deputy federal public defender in the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Los Angeles.
Kato served as a law clerk for Judge Robert M. Takasugi of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California from 1996 to 1997. She received her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1996 and her B.A., summa cum laude, from UCLA in 1993.
• Judge Sherilyn Peace Garnett, nominee for the United States District Court for the Central District of California, has served as a California Superior Court judge on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County since 2014.
From 2001 to 2014, Garnett served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California in the Criminal Division. She served as chief of the General Crimes Section in 2014, deputy chief of the General Crimes Section from 2011 to 2014, and domestic terrorism coordinator for the Central District of California from 2008 to 2011.
From 1999 to 2000, Garnett was a litigation associate at Arnold & Porter in Los Angeles. She began her career as a litigation associate at Altheimer & Gray in Chicago from 1995 to 1998. Garnett served as a law clerk for Judge Barry T. Moskowitz on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California from 1998 to 1999.
Garnett received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1995 and her B.A., with honors, from UC Riverside in 1991.
• Judge Fred W. Slaughter, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, has served as a California Superior Court Judge on the Superior Court of Orange County since 2014.
From 2002 to 2014, Slaughter served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the criminal sections of three federal districts in the Ninth Circuit: the Central District of California from 2004 to 2008 and from 2010 to 2014; the District of Oregon from 2008 to 2010; and the District of Arizona from 2002 to 2004. While working in the Central District of California, Slaughter also served as the Project Safe Neighborhoods Coordinator from 2004 to 2006 and the deputy chief for the Santa Ana Branch Office from 2012 to 2013.
From 2000 to 2002, Slaughter served as a deputy city attorney for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. He served as a law clerk for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office’s criminal and airport divisions in 1999.
Slaughter received his J.D. from UCLA Law School in 1999 and his B.A. from UCLA in 1996.
• Judge Sunshine Suzanne Sykes, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, has served as a California Superior Court Judge on the Superior Court of Riverside County since 2013. She currently presides over a civil litigation department and is the presiding judge of the appellate division.
From 2005 to 2013, Sykes served as a deputy county counsel in the Office of County Counsel for Riverside County, handling litigation on behalf of government entities and serving as a juvenile dependency trial attorney representing the California Department of Public Social Services on matters concerning abused and neglected children. From 2003 to 2005, Sykes worked as a contract attorney for the Juvenile Defense Panel at the Southwest Justice Center.
From 2001 to 2003, she was a staff attorney for California Indian Legal Services. Sykes is a member of the Navajo Nation and a descendant of the Coyote Pass-Jemez Clan.
Sykes received her J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2001 and her B.A from Stanford University in 1997.