Four of President Joe Biden’s nine federal judicial nominees are from Southern California, and one would be the first Asian American Pacific Islander woman to serve in the Central District of California.
Judges Sherilyn Peace Garnett, Kenly Kiya Kato, Fred W. Slaughter and Sunshine Suzanne Sykes are from Southern California and nominees for the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
Kato has served as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Central District of California since 2014 and would be the first Asian American Pacific Islander woman to serve on the Central District Court. She was a solo practitioner, representing clients in civil and criminal cases, from 2004 to 2014. Kato was an associate at Liner LLP in Los Angeles and was a Deputy Federal Public Defender in the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Los Angeles from 1997 to 2003. She served as a law clerk for Judge Robert M. Takasugi of the United States District Court for the Central District of California from 1996 to 1997.
She graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1996 and earned her B.A., summa cum laude, from UCLA in 1993.
Garnett has served as a California Superior Court judge in Los Angeles County since 2014. She was an assistant United States attorney for the Central District of California in the criminal division from 2001 to 2014. Garnett served as Chief of the General Crimes Section in 2014, Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Section from 2011 to 2014, and as the Domestic Terrorism Coordinator for the Central District of California from 2008 to 2011.
Garnett was a litigation associate at Arnold & Porter in Los Angeles. She began her career as a litigation associate at Altheimer & Gray in Chicago from 1995 to 1998 and was a law clerk for Judge Barry T. Moskowitz on the United States District Court for the Southern District of California from 1998 to 1999.
She graduated from Harvard Law School in 1995 and earned her B.A. with honors from UC Riverside in 1991.
Slaughter has served as a California Superior Court judge in Orange County since 2014. He was an assistant United States attorney in the criminal sections of three federal districts in the Ninth Circuit — the Central District of California from 2004 to 2008, the District of Oregon from 2008 to 2010, and the District of Arizona from 2002 to 2004.
Slaughter served as the Project Safe Neighborhoods coordinator while working in the Central District of California from 2004 to 2006. He was the Deputy Chief for the Santa Ana Branch Office from 2012 to 2013. He was a Deputy District Attorney for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office from 2000 to 2002 and was a law clerk for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office criminal and airport divisions in 1999.
He graduated from UCLA Law School in 1999 and earned his B.A. from UCLA in 1996.
Sykes has served as a California Superior Court judge in Riverside County since 2013. She presides over a civil litigation department and is the presiding judge of the appellate division. Sykes served as a Deputy County Counsel in the Office of the County Counsel for Riverside County, handling litigation on behalf of government entities and as a juvenile dependency trial attorney representing the California Department of Public Social Services on matters concerning abused and neglected children from 2005 to 2013.
Sykes worked as a contract attorney for the Juvenile Defense Panel at the Southwest Justice Center from 2003 to 2005. She was a staff attorney for California Indian Legal Services from 2001 to 2003, is a member of the Navajo Nation and a descendant of the Coyote Pass-Jemez Clan.
Sykes graduated from Stanford Law School in 2001 and earned her B.A. from Stanford University in 1997.
This is Biden’s 11th round of nominees for federal judicial positions. He has made 73 nominations for federal judicial positions.