On Scene with Bill Wilson: Newest Federal Judge

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Newly confirmed federal judge Vince Chhabria in front of the United States Supreme Court on March 27, 2013.

From the Office of   City Attorney Dennis Herrera comes this press release: SAN FRANCISCO (March 5, 2014)— Deputy San Francisco City AttorneyVince Chhabria was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday as the newest federal court judge for the Northern District of California.

Chhabria, 44, spent the past nine years in City Attorney’s Office, representing the City in a wide range of litigation matters including the successful defense of the Healthy San Francisco initiative, and the fight for marriage equality for same-sex couples in California.

Chhabria was first nominated by President Obama on July 25, 2013.  He received the highest possible rating, Unanimously Well Qualified, from the American Bar

Association, and was subsequently approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 14, 2013. After being confirmed today in Washington by a vote he is expected to assume his seat within a few weeks.

In response to the news from Washington, City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued the following statement: “I couldn’t be prouder of Vince Chhabria, and I know he will make a phenomenal federal judge. This is great news not just for Vince and his family, and for all the proud people in our office, but for anyone who will come before him in court. He is brilliant, fair, and totally committed to getting the law right.”

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Vince Chhabria (on left pointing) with Deputy City Attorney Theresa Stewart and City Attorney Dennis Herrera on their way to the California Supreme Court on March 3, 2008

 Chhabria sent the following statement by email from India, where he is currently visiting family:

I am thrilled to begin this new chapter of my career in public service, and to set up shopdown the hall from my greatest mentor, Judge Charles Breyer. But as it sinks in that I’m truly leaving the City Attorney’s Office, a wave of sadness comes over me. While I had high expectations when I started here nine years ago, I never dreamed I would be lucky enough to work on so many exciting cases, for so many dynamic clients, with so many dedicated and high-caliber public lawyers. I would like to thank President Obama and the United States Senate for entrusting me with this weighty responsibility. I’m extremely grateful to Senator Boxer for recommending me to the President, and to Senator Feinstein for her support and guidance through the confirmation process. And I especially want to thank City Attorney Dennis Herrera, a leader who captains the ship in a way that gives young lawyers the opportunity to flourish. I would never be in this position today without him.

Chhabria joined the City Attorney’s Office from the firm of Covington and Burling, and was also a law clerk for Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California, James R. Browning of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and, in 2001 and 2002, for Justice Stephen Breyer of the United States Supreme Court.

As a Deputy City Attorney, Chhabria is best known for successfully defending the Healthy San Francisco initiative, which brought quality health coverage to tens of thousands of otherwise uninsured San Franciscans. He has won judgments against businesses skirting minimum wage laws, fought for relocation assistance for tenants evicted under the Ellis Act, and was a key member of the legal team that eventually toppled California’s Proposition 8 in June of last year, making same-sex marriage legal in California.

VC5262009 Vince Chhabria listens to reaction of City Attorney Dennis Herrera  to the California Supreme Court ruling validating Prop 8 on March 26, 2009.

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