|United States District Court for the Northern District of California|
|Appeals to||Ninth Circuit|
|Established||August 5, 1886|
|Chief Judge||Phyllis Jean Hamilton|
The United States District Court for the Northern District of California (in case citations, N.D. Cal.) is the federal United States district court whose jurisdiction comprises following counties of California: Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma. The court hears cases in its courtrooms in Eureka, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. It is headquartered in San Francisco.
Cases from the Northern District of California are appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).
California was admitted as a state on September 9, 1850, and was initially divided into two districts, the Northern and the Southern, by Act of Congress approved September 28, 1850, 9 Stat. 521. The boundary line was at the 37th parallel of North Latitude. The creating act provided that:
- In addition to the ordinary jurisdiction and powers of a District Court of the United States, with which the Southern District Court of New York has been invested, the said Courts be and hereby are invested respectively within the limits of its district with the exercise of concurrent jurisdiction and power in all civil cases now exercised by the Circuit Courts of the United States; and that in all cases where said Courts shall exercise such jurisdiction, appeals may be taken from the judgments, orders or decrees of said Courts to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Act of August 31, 1852 made the Judge of the Northern District be Judge of the Southern District as well until otherwise provided, by 10 Stat. 76, 84, effectively creating a single District in all but name until an Act of January 18, 1854 provided for the appointment of a Judge for the Southern District. The Southern District of California was abolished and the State made to constitute a single district – the United States District Court for the District of California – by Act of Congress approved July 27, 1866, 14 Stat. 300.
Twenty years later, on August 5, 1886, Congress re-created the Southern District of California by 24 Stat. 308. Erskine M. Ross was appointed Judge of the new district and served until his promotion to the Circuit Judgeship, when he was succeeded by Olin Wellborn. On March 18, 1966, the Eastern and Central Districts were created from portions of the Northern and Southern Districts by 80 Stat. 75.
The court has become known as the presumptive destination for major cases (such as large class actions and multi-district litigation) involving defendants based in East Asia and the high tech sector. 
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|57||Chief Judge||Phyllis Jean Hamilton||Oakland||1952||2000–present||2014–present||—||Clinton|
|56||District Judge||William Haskell Alsup||San Francisco||1945||1999–present||—||—||Clinton|
|58||District Judge||Jeffrey White||Oakland||1945||2002–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|59||District Judge||Richard G. Seeborg||San Francisco||1956||2010–present||—||—||Obama|
|60||District Judge||Lucy H. Koh||San Jose||1968||2010–present||—||—||Obama|
|61||District Judge||Edward J. Davila||San Jose||1952||2011–present||—||—||Obama|
|62||District Judge||Edward M. Chen||San Francisco||1953||2011–present||—||—||Obama|
|63||District Judge||Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers||Oakland||1965||2011���present||—||—||Obama|
|64||District Judge||Jon S. Tigar||San Francisco||1962||2013–present||—||—||Obama|
|65||District Judge||William H. Orrick, III||San Francisco||1953||2013–present||—||—||Obama|
|66||District Judge||James Donato||San Francisco||1960||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|67||District Judge||Beth Labson Freeman||San Jose||1953||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|68||District Judge||Vince Girdhari Chhabria||San Francisco||1969||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|69||District Judge||Haywood Stirling Gilliam, Jr.||Oakland||1969||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|38||Senior Judge||Thelton Henderson||inactive||1933||1980–1998||1990–1997||1998���present||Carter|
|47||Senior Judge||Saundra Brown Armstrong||Oakland||1947||1991–2012||—||2012–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|49||Senior Judge||Ronald M. Whyte||inactive||1942||1992–2009||—||2009–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|50||Senior Judge||Claudia Ann Wilken||Oakland||1949||1993–2014||2012–2014||2014–present||Clinton|
|51||Senior Judge||Maxine M. Chesney||San Francisco||1942||1995–2009||—||2009–present||Clinton|
|52||Senior Judge||Susan Illston||San Francisco||1948||1995–2013||—||2013–present||Clinton|
|53||Senior Judge||Charles R. Breyer||San Francisco||1941||1997–2011||—||2011–present||Clinton|
|55||Senior Judge||Jeremy Fogel||San Jose||1949||1998–2014||—||2014–present||Clinton|
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for
|1||Hoffman, Jr., OgdenOgden Hoffman, Jr.||CA||1822–1891||1851–1866||—||—||Fillmore, Fillmore||reassignment to D. Cal.|
|1.1||Hoffman, Jr., OgdenOgden Hoffman, Jr.||CA||1822–1891||1886–1891||—||—||Fillmore, Fillmore||death|
|2||Morrow, William W.William W. Morrow||CA||1843–1929||1891–1897||—||—||Harrison, B.B. Harrison||appointment to 9th Cir.|
|3||Haven, John J. DeJohn J. De Haven||CA||1849–1913||1897–1913||—||—||McKinley, McKinley||death|
|4||Van Fleet, William CaryWilliam Cary Van Fleet||CA||1852–1923||1907–1923||—||—||Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt||death|
|5||Dooling, Maurice TimothyMaurice Timothy Dooling||CA||1860–1924||1913–1924||—||—||Wilson, Wilson||death|
|6||Partridge, John SlaterJohn Slater Partridge||CA||1870–1926||1923–1926||—||—||Harding, Harding||death|
|7||Kerrigan, Frank HenryFrank Henry Kerrigan||CA||1868–1935||1924–1935||—||—||Coolidge, Coolidge||death|
|8||St. Sure, Adolphus FredericAdolphus Frederic St. Sure||CA||1869–1949||1925–1947||—||1947–1949||Coolidge, Coolidge||death|
|9||Louderback, HaroldHarold Louderback||CA||1881–1941||1928–1941||—||—||Coolidge, Coolidge||death|
|10||Roche, Michael JosephMichael Joseph Roche||CA||1878–1964||1935–1958||1948–1958||1958–1964||Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt||death|
|11||Welsh, Martin IgnatiusMartin Ignatius Welsh||CA||1882–1953||1939–1946||—||1946–1953||Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt||death|
|12||Goodman, Louis EarlLouis Earl Goodman||CA||1892–1961||1942–1961||1958–1961||—||Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt||death|
|13||Harris, George BernardGeorge Bernard Harris||CA||1901–1983||1946–1970||1961–1970||1970–1983||Truman, Truman||death|
|14||Lemmon, Dal MillingtonDal Millington Lemmon||CA||1887–1958||1947–1954||—||—||Truman, Truman||appointment to 9th Cir.|
|15||Erskine, Herbert WilsonHerbert Wilson Erskine||CA||1888–1951||1949–1951||—||—||Truman, Truman||death|
|16||Carter, Oliver JesseOliver Jesse Carter||CA||1911–1976||1950–1976||1970–1976||1976||Truman, Truman||death|
|17||Murphy, Edward PrestonEdward Preston Murphy||CA||1904–1958||1950–1958||—||—||Truman, Truman||death|
|18||Friedman, Monroe MarkMonroe Mark Friedman||CA||1895–1978||1952–1953||—||—||Truman, Truman||not confirmed|
|19||Hamlin, Jr., Oliver DevetaOliver Deveta Hamlin, Jr.||CA||1892–1973||1953–1958||—||—||Eisenhower, Eisenhower||appointment to 9th Cir.|
|20||Halbert, SherrillSherrill Halbert||CA||1901–1991||1954–1966||—||—||Eisenhower, Eisenhower||reassignment to E.D. Cal.|
|21||Wollenberg, Albert CharlesAlbert Charles Wollenberg||CA||1900–1981||1958–1975||—||1975–1981||Eisenhower, Eisenhower||death|
|22||Burke, Lloyd HudsonLloyd Hudson Burke||CA||1916–1988||1958–1979||—||1979–1988||Eisenhower, Eisenhower||death|
|23||Sweigert, William ThomasWilliam Thomas Sweigert||CA||1900���1983||1959–1973||—||1973–1983||Eisenhower, Eisenhower||death|
|24||MacBride, Thomas JamisonThomas Jamison MacBride||CA||1914–2000||1961–1966||—||—||Kennedy, Kennedy||reassignment to E.D. Cal.|
|25||Zirpoli, AlfonsoAlfonso Zirpoli||CA||1905–1995||1961–1975||—||1975–1995||Kennedy, Kennedy||death|
|26||Weigel, Stanley AlexanderStanley Alexander Weigel||CA||1905–1999||1962–1982||—||1982–1997||Kennedy, Kennedy||retirement|
|27||Peckham, Robert FrancisRobert Francis Peckham||CA||1920–1993||1966–1988||1976–1988||1988–1993||Johnson, L.L. Johnson||death|
|28||Levin, Gerald SanfordGerald Sanford Levin||CA||1906–1971||1969–1971||—||—||Nixon, Nixon||death|
|29||Schnacke, Robert HowardRobert Howard Schnacke||CA||1913–1994||1970–1983||—||1983–1994||Nixon, Nixon||death|
|30||Conti, SamuelSamuel Conti||CA||1922–present||1970–1987||—||1987–2015||Nixon, Nixon||retirement|
|31||Williams, Spencer MortimerSpencer Mortimer Williams||CA||1922–2008||1971–1987||—||1987–2008||Nixon, Nixon||death|
|32||Renfrew, Charles ByronCharles Byron Renfrew||CA||1928–2017||1971–1980||—||—||Nixon, Nixon||resignation|
|33||Orrick, Jr., William HorsleyWilliam Horsley Orrick, Jr.||CA||1915–2003||1974–1985||—||1985–2003||Nixon, Nixon||death|
|34||Ingram, William AustinWilliam Austin Ingram||CA||1924–2002||1976–1990||1988–1990||1990–2002||Ford, Ford||death|
|35||Poole, Cecil F.Cecil F. Poole||CA||1914–1997||1976–1980||—||—||Ford, Ford||appointment to 9th Cir.|
|36||Schwarzer, WilliamWilliam Schwarzer||CA||1925–2017||1976–1991||—||1991–2017||Ford, Ford||death|
|37||Aguilar, Robert PeterRobert Peter Aguilar||CA||1931–present||1980–1996||—||1996||Carter, Carter||retirement|
|39||Hall Patel, MarilynMarilyn Hall Patel||CA||1938–present||1980–2009||1997–2004||2009–2012||Carter||retirement|
|40||Lynch, Eugene F.Eugene F. Lynch||CA||1931–present||1982–1997||—||1997||Reagan, Reagan||retirement|
|41||Vukasin Jr., John P.John P. Vukasin Jr.||CA||1928–1993||1983–1993||—||—||Reagan, Reagan||death|
|42||Legge, Charles A.Charles A. Legge||CA||1930–present||1984–2001||—||—||Reagan, Reagan||retirement|
|43||Jensen, D. LowellD. Lowell Jensen||CA||1928–present||1986–1997||—||1997–2014||Reagan, Reagan||retirement|
|44||Smith, Fern M.Fern M. Smith||CA||1933–present||1988–2003||—||2003–2005||Reagan, Reagan||retirement|
|45||Walker, VaughnVaughn Walker||CA||1944–present||1989–2011||2004–2010||—||G.H.W. Bush||retirement|
|46||Ware, JamesJames Ware||CA||1946–present||1990–2012||2011–2012||—||G.H.W. Bush||retirement|
|48||Caulfield, Barbara A.Barbara A. Caulfield||CA||1947–2010||1991–1994||—||—||Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush||resignation|
|54||Jenkins, MartinMartin Jenkins||CA||1954–present||1997–2008||—||—||Clinton, Clinton||resignation|
Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their district court, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless circuit judges are also on the panel. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the district court judges. To be chief, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position.
When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as chief judge. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become or remain chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.
Succession of seats
United States Attorney
The United States Attorney for the Northern District of California represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The Acting United States Attorney has been Alex G. Tse since January 7, 2018.
- U.S. District Courts of California, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
- Willoughby Rodman, History of the Bench and Bar of Southern California (1909), p. 46.
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 10, 1891, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 11, 1892, and received commission on January 11, 1892.
- Recess appointment; the United States Senate later rejected the appointment.