From Valley Farm Fields to the 9th Circuit: Judge De Alba Confirmed by US Senate - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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From Valley Farm Fields to the 9th Circuit: Judge De Alba Confirmed by US Senate

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Judge Ana de Alba, who toiled in the Valley's farm fields as a youth, was confirmed as a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday, Nov. 14, 2023. (GV Wire File/Screengrab)
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Judge Ana de Alba was confirmed as a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals on a 48-43 vote by the U.S. Senate on Monday.

Upon taking her oath, she will fill a judgeship vacant since May 31, 2023, when Circuit Judge Paul Watford resigned. De Alba will become the fourth Hispanic woman appointed to the court.

De Alba is a former Fresno County Superior Court and federal district judge. She will maintain chambers in Fresno.

She Toiled in the Fields as a Child

“I spent my childhood toiling alongside my parents and brothers in the fields of California’s Central Valley. My parents immigrated to the United States (from Mexico), bringing with them entrenched values of honesty, humility, hard work, and determination to ensure that their children received a good education,” de Alba told the Senate Judiciary Committee last year.

Born in Merced and raised in South Dos Palos, de Alba worked her way through UC Berkeley to earn a law degree and returned to the Central Valley to practice law. She worked in Fresno at the private law firm Lang, Richert & Patch after graduating in 2007; she became a partner in 2013.

High Praise for de Alba

“Hearty congratulations to Judge de Alba! We are thrilled that the U.S. Senate has recognized her stellar qualifications and substantial experience as fully supporting her elevation to the
federal appellate court,” Chief U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller for the Eastern District of California said in a news release.

“The news is bittersweet for us, of course, given that we lose a valued colleague and a wonderful judge from the federal trial court. But we also celebrate the special distinction that comes with Judge de Alba’s joining the Ninth Circuit.”

De Alba has served as a federal district judge for the Eastern District of California since July 2022, when she became the first Latina appointed to that court. Prior to her
appointment to the federal bench, she served as a California Superior Court judge in Fresno County since 2018.

Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) applauded de Alba’s confirmation in a statement released on Monday evening.

“Judge Ana de Alba has dedicated her career to public service and improving our legal system. A native of Dos Palos and an experienced jurist, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, which will be an asset to the Ninth Circuit Court. Her story will continue to inspire young aspiring lawyers in the San Joaquin Valley who hope to make a difference in their community,” he said.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email