Judge William H. Orrick III: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

William H. Orrick, William H. Orrick judge, William H. Orrick III

William H. Orrick is a district court judge from California. (cand.uscourts.gov)

A United States district court judge has just blocked part of President Donald Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities.

Judge William H. Orrick III on Tuesday granted a nationwide injunction, blocking the Trump administration from following through on its threat to take away federal funds from cities that do not comply with national immigration laws, according to CNN.

William Orrick is 63 years old, and he is from San Francisco, California. According to his Senate confirmation hearing, he is married, and he and his wife Carolina have three daughters: Sarah, Libby, and Catherine.

On Wednesday morning, Trump attacked Orrick on Twitter, calling the ruling ridiculous. He did, however, suggest that this had something to do with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, even though Orrick is a district judge and is not part of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Here’s everything you need to know about Judge William H. Orrick III.


1. He Was Nominated by President Barack Obama

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Obama during his final press conference as President. (Getty)

Judge William Orrick was appointed to his current position by President Barack Obama.

At the time of the appointment, Orrick was working at the law firm Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP. He has previously served as deputy assistant attorney general for the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice.

Obama nominated Orrick in June 2012, but Orrick was not approved until February 2013. This was mainly a party line vote, though Republican Jeff Flake broke with his party to vote to confirm Orrick.

During his confirmation hearing, William Orrick was introduced by Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer.

“Mr. Orrick brings a depth of legal experience in both the private and public sectors which will make him a tremendous asset to the Northern District Court,” Boxer said in her statement.


2. He Donated Money to Barack Obama During the 2008 Campaign

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President Barack Obama in January 2017. (Getty)

When Barack Obama was running for president, Judge William Orrick reportedly helped raise money for him and donated some of his own money as well.

According to Public Citizen, a consumer rights advocacy group and think tank, Orrick donated approximately $30,000 to committees supporting Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for president. In addition, he helped raise $200,000 in contributions for the Obama campaign.

This had not been Orrick’s first time raising money for a Democratic politician. During the 2004 election, he helped raise funds for John Kerry, according to Public Citizen.


3. He Worked at the Justice Department While the Obama Administration Was Suing Arizona Over Its Immigration Law

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President Barack Obama in November 2016. (Getty)

In 2010, Arizona passed a controversial immigration law known as SB 1070, a.k.a. the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.

This was a strict immigration bill which required that police officers attempt to determine a person’s immigration status when they are stopped for unrelated reasons if there is a reasonable suspicion that the person may be undocumented. It also barred state and local officials from restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

The Department of Justice ultimately filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona because of this bill. Orrick, who worked at the Justice Department at the time, was involved in coordinating the Obama administration’s argument against SB 1070, according to the Washington Examiner.

Orrick himself said during his Senate confirmation process, “Regarding Arizona, I attended meetings where the impact of SB 1070 on the operations of DHS and law enforcement was discussed [and] where the preemption analysis of the lawyers working on this issue was discussed.”


4. He Blocked the Release of Undercover Videos on Planned Parenthood

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A Planned Parenthood office is seen on November 30, 2015 in New York City. (Getty)

In 2015, Judge William Orrick issued a temporary restraining order against a pro-life group that had been releasing undercover videos about Planned Parenthood.

At the time, The Center for Medical Progress had been putting out highly-edited videos that they claimed showed Planned Parenthood had been illegally selling fetal tissue. Orrick issued a restraining order, saying that he reached this decision due to concerns over the safety of the leaders of the National Abortion Federation.

“NAF would be likely to suffer irreparable injury, absent an ex parte temporary restraining order, in the form of harassment, intimidation, violence, invasion of privacy, and injury to reputation, and the requested relief is in the public interest,” Orrick said at the time, according to CNN.

The National Abortion Federation said in their restraining order request that the videos had been illegally recorded.

At the time that this decision was reached, conservative website The Federalist found that Orrick’s wife, Caroline Farrow Orrick, is pro-choice.


5. He Has Said He Will Not Let His Political Views Influence His Rulings

President Donald Trump on March 20, 2017. (Getty)

During his Senate confirmation process, Judge William Orrick promised to never let his political views influence the way he rules on cases.

“My varied legal background is evidence that I will treat all litigants fairly and with respect, and that I will not let my personal views interfere with the administration of justice,” he said. “… I have great respect for every type of client I have represented. I have never let my political beliefs affect my legal judgment, and believe that politics have no place in the courtroom.”

Orrick went on to say that district judges must “bind themselves tightly” to precedent.

When asked what his policy on immigration-related cases would be, Orrick said he would recuse himself “from any case that was pending in OIL [Office of Immigration Litigation] while I was Deputy Assistant Attorney General and from any other case as required by the Code of Conduct for United States Judge as well as other relevant Canons and statutory provisions.”

94 Comments

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94 Comments

william mckinley

Judge William Orrick is a liberal fascist.Anti-free speech,and perfectly fine with allowing his political leanings to influence his rulings on the bench.He lied about that during his confirmation.That tells you what kind of man Judge William Orrick is.Will he be charged for lying during his confirmation hearings?You know he won’t.So we must be content with pointing out his fascist nature every time his name comes up after another fascist ruling.

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