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Trump intends to nominate Duke Law alum as a judge to U.S. District Court

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced an intent to nominate Shireen Matthews, Law ‘04, as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. 

After graduating cum laude from Duke Law School, Matthews served as a law clerk in the district court for which she is now nominated. She would be the first Asian Pacific woman and first Indian American to serve as a federal judge in the Southern District of California if she is nominated and confirmed to the position, according to a National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) release

The NAPABA “applauds” Trump’s intent to nominate Matthews.

"Shireen Matthews is [an] experienced attorney, both in the public and private sectors. She will be a well-qualified addition to the bench in the Southern District of California,” NAPABA President Daniel Sakaguchi said in the release. 

Sakaguchi added that the potential nominee is dedicated to “serving her community and promoting diversity in the legal profession” and has served as a former president of the San Diego’s chapter of the South Asian Bar Association.

Currently, Matthews is a partner at Jones Day, the fifth-largest law firm in the country, in San Diego. She is a former associate of Latham & Watkins LLP in San Diego and an assistant U.S. attorney in the criminal division of the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of California, according to the White House news release.

At Duke, she was a member of Phi Delta Phi, a professional fraternity whose members include five American presidents and 14 Supreme Court justices, although none on the current court. 

There have been 99 district court judges confirmed by the Senate since the beginning of the Trump administration. 

In August 2018, Trump nominated Allison Jones Rushing, Law '07, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The Senate confirmed Rushing in March 2019 to serve for the Fourth Circuit, where she will hear cases from federal district courts in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and federal administrative agencies. She was the youngest federal judge confirmed in more than 15 years.


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