Fresno waits, and waits, for new federal judge to replace retiring Ishii

Posted by John Ellis on December 27, 2013 

Senior U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii

U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii told the Obama administration in November 2011 that he was going to take senior status, a heads-up for officials to start seeking a replacement.

He officially moved to senior status — a move akin to retirement but one that allows a judge to continue hearing cases — 14 months ago.

And now, as 2013 gives way to 2014, judicial employees at Fresno’s federal courthouse, still laboring under one of the highest caseloads in the nation, anxiously await Ishii’s replacement.

As they do, multiple legal sources in Fresno say that the nomination is at the White House awaiting action from Obama.

Under a long-standing arrangement, California’s two senators — Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer — trade off making recommendations for filling federal judicial vacancies in the state. It’s Boxer’s turn to find Ishii’s replacement.

A screening committee set up by Boxer to vet candidates long ago finished its work, said its chairman, Fresno attorney Don Fischbach.

Boxer’s office declined, as a matter of policy, to discuss the nomination process.

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