SAN DIEGO, California – San Diego Superior Court Judge Marian Gaston has withdrawn her nomination for a federal judgeship, just as she was nearing confirmation. The news comes after she had been nominated by President Joe Biden in December 2022 for the position. Gaston’s decision was communicated to California Sen. Alex Padilla’s office, which revealed that she requested the administration not to resubmit her nomination.
Gaston had been slated to fill the vacancy of U.S. District Judge William Hayes, who had assumed senior status in 2021. The White House, however, announced the nomination of another Superior Court judge, Rebecca Kanter, for a different vacancy on the local federal bench. If confirmed, Kanter would succeed U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. California Sens. Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler applauded the nomination of Kanter, highlighting her commitment to public service throughout her career.
Kanter, a long-time federal prosecutor, had been elected to her state court position in 2022. She brings with her an impressive background, having graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in 2000 and earned a law degree from the UCLA School of Law in 2003. Prior to becoming a prosecutor, Kanter worked in private practice and clerked for a federal judge.
Meanwhile, Gaston has been a Superior Court judge in San Diego since 2015. Before that, she spent almost two decades as a deputy public defender with the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office. Although her nomination had received approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee in May, it failed to secure a confirmation vote in the full Senate before the session ended, along with several others. Despite the objections raised by Republicans on the committee, Gaston’s nomination was expected to move quickly in the new congressional session.
However, when the White House recently announced renominations, Gaston’s name was absent from the list. It was only confirmed by Padilla’s office that she had withdrawn from consideration. The process to fill the vacancy left by Judge Hayes will now need to start anew, with California’s senators recommending a new nominee to the Biden administration. If nominated, the candidate must then be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and confirmed by the full Senate.
The recent nomination of Judge Kanter could potentially expedite the process. If she was among the top candidates identified by the judicial nomination committees of Senators Padilla and Butler, they could revisit that pool. Padilla and Butler expressed their desire for a swift approval of Kanter’s nomination, indicating that they look forward to working with their Senate colleagues on the matter.
In summary, San Diego Superior Court Judge Marian Gaston has requested President Joe Biden not to renominate her for a federal judgeship. As a result, the process to fill the vacancy left by U.S. District Judge William Hayes will need to restart, with California’s senators recommending a new nominee to the Biden administration. However, the recent nomination of another Superior Court judge, Rebecca Kanter, offers a potential opportunity to expedite the process.