Richard Paez

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Richard Paez
Placeholder image.png
Do you have a photo that could go here? Submit it for this profile by emailing us!
Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Title:   Judge
Station:   Pasadena, CA
Appointed by:   Pres. Bill Clinton
Active:   3/14/2000-Present
Preceded by:   Cecil F. Poole
Past post:   Judge, Central District of California
Past term:   1994-2000
Past position:   Seat #25
Personal History
Born:   1947
Hometown:   Salt Lake city, UT
Undergraduate:   Brigham Young University, 1969
Law School:   University of California Berkeley Law 1972

Richard A. Paez is a federal judge with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. He joined the court in 2000 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton.


Paez graduated from Brigham Young University with his bachelor's degree in 1969 and later received his J.D. from University of California Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law in 1972.[1]

Professional career

  • 2000-Present: Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • 1981-1994: Judge, Los Angeles Municipal Court
  • 1976-1981: Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, California
    • 1980-1981: Acting executive director and director of litigation
    • 1979-1980: Deputy director for litigation
    • 1978-1979: Director of litigation
    • 1976-1978: Senior counsel
  • 1974-1976: Staff attorney, Western Center on Law and Poverty
  • 1972-1974: Staff attorney, California Rural Legal Assistance[1]

Judicial career

Central District of California

On the recommendation of U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstien and Barbara Boxer, Paez was nominated to the United States District Court for the Central District of California by President Bill Clinton on March 9, 1994, to a new seat created by 104 Stat. 5089, which was approved by Congress. Paez was confirmed by the Senate on June 15, 1994, and received commission on June 16, 1994.[1] Paez was succeeded in this position by James Otero.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

On the recommendation of U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstien and Barbara Boxer, Paez was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by Bill Clinton on January 26, 1999, to a seat vacated by Cecil F. Poole. Paez was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 9, 2000 on a Senate vote and received commission on March 14, 2000.[1]

Notable cases

Ninth Circuit strikes certain Arizona campaign rules for judicial candidates (2014)

The Arizona code of judicial conduct stated that judicial candidates, individuals who have not yet been elected but are seeking office, may not engage in certain activity related to campaigning. The precluded activity included raising funds for your own campaign or other candidates, endorsing candidates, campaigning for others or giving speeches on behalf of other candidates. Though a federal district court judge upheld these provisions, the Ninth Circuit, in an ‘’en banc’’ decision, held that they were unconstitutional.

Writing for the majority, Judge Richard Paez said that these types of provisions run afoul of the First Amendment. They prevent a candidate from speaking out, which is his right. He went on to provide a solution to Arizona and other states that wish to avoid a politicized judiciary: do not elect judges.

Judge Marsha Berzon concurred in the holding, but her concurrence emphasized that the majority holding applied only to judicial candidates, not incumbent judges running for re-election. Judge Richard Tallman dissented in part with the majority; he found that some of the code struck down was narrowly tailored, in particularly the two provisions on candidate campaigning.


Judges go to court over salaries (2012-2013)

     United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Peter H. Beer, et al., v. United States, 09-CV-037)

Judge Paez was one of six judges who sued the government on a claim that Congress violated the Constitution's compensation clause and the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 by failing to honor promised judicial salary increases in five separate years. Earlier reports of the case indicated Judges Thomas Hogan and James Robertson were part of the suit, though they were not named parties in the final opinions and orders.[2]

The Ethics Reform Act requires automatic adjustment of judicial salaries every year based on the Employment Cost Index--which measures inflation of wages and benefits--unless severe economic conditions make the raise inappropriate. Congress claimed its withholding of salary adjustments for federal judges was due to a lack of funds.[3]

On October 16, 2009, a federal claims court judge dismissed the lawsuit, citing the decision in Williams v. United States. In that case, Congress was allowed to decide not to grant the cost of living adjustments so long as they did so in the fiscal year prior to that in which the increase would be payable. The judges expected and acknowledged the decision based on precedent, but said that their hope was to overturn the Williams decision and planned an immediate appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.[2]

On October 5, 2012, the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of the judges, overturning the 11-year old Williams precedent, and finding that Congress' withholding of the cost-of-living salary raises were illegal. The en banc opinion was written by Judge Randall Rader, who quoted Alexander Hamilton, saying, "next to permanency in office, nothing can contribute more to the independence of the judges than a fixed provision for their support."[3] The judges commented that members of their profession should not have to fear that their livelihood will be subject to reprisals from other branches of government, and that as the "weakest of the three branches of government," the judiciary "must...not place its will within the reach of political whim."[3]

The panel decided that "all sitting federal judges are entitled to expect that their real salary will not diminish due to inflation or the action or inaction of the other branches of government," and ordered the Court of Federal Claims to calculate the judges' damages and any other additional compensation to which they were entitled.[3]

Judges Timothy Dyk and William Bryson dissented. They wrote that although the decision seemed just in consideration "to the nation's underpaid Article III judges," the overturning of the Supreme Court's clear interpretation of the law in Williams, as well as a previous refusal to re-hear the issue by the highest court, indicates that the majority overstepped its authority.[3]

In June of 2013, Judge Eric G. Bruggink ruled that each of the judges could recover about $150,000 of back-pay from the government. He also ordered the government to pay interest on the pre-tax amount of the judgment.[4]

See also

External links


Political offices
Preceded by:
NA-New Seat
Central District of California
Seat #25
Succeeded by:
James Otero
Preceded by:
Cecil F. Poole
Ninth Circuit
Succeeded by:

This page is missing notable case information.