Commission Confirms Appellate Court Appointments
Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, chair of the Commission on Judicial Appointments, announced that the commission today confirmed three appointments to the California Courts of Appeal in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The nominees were confirmed by unanimous vote of the three-member commission, which includes Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye (Chair); Attorney General Rob Bonta; and Presiding Justice Jim Humes (for Justice Stewart’s hearing) or Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert (for Judges Weingart and Viramontes).
The nominees confirmed during the virtual public hearing were:
- Justice Therese Stewart, as presiding justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Division Two (San Francisco);
- Judge Gregory Weingart, as associate justice of the Second District Court of Appeal, Division One (Los Angeles); and
- Judge Victor Viramontes, as associate Justice of the Second District Court of Appeal, Division Eight (Los Angeles).
The state Constitution specifies that a gubernatorial nomination or appointment to the Supreme Court or a Court of Appeal is “effective when confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments.”
The commission consists of the chief justice of California, the attorney general of California, and the presiding justice of the Court of Appeal of the affected district or, if there are two or more presiding justices, the one who has presided longest or, for a nomination or appointment to the Supreme Court, the presiding justice who has presided the longest on any Court of Appeal.
Justice Therese Stewart fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline. Justice Stewart has served as an associate justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Division Two since 2014, and was the first openly lesbian justice to serve on the California Court of Appeal. Justice Stewart served as chief deputy city attorney at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office from 2002 to 2014. She was a director at Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk and Rabkin PC from 1988 to 2002, where she was an associate from 1982 to 1988. She served as a law clerk for the Honorable Phyllis A. Kravitch at the U.S. Court of Appeal, Eleventh Circuit from 1981 to 1982. Justice Stewart argued on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco in the trilogy of cases advocating for marriage equality for LGBT Californians in the California Supreme Court. She also led the team of San Francisco deputy city attorneys intervening as plaintiffs in the federal case challenging Proposition 8. Justice Stewart earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.
Judge Gregory Weingart fills the vacancy created by the removal of Justice Jeffrey Johnson. Judge Weingart has served as a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge since 2020 and from 2018 to 2019. He served as a Justice Pro Tem at the Second District Court of Appeal, Division One from 2019 to 2020. Judge Weingart was a partner at Munger, Tolles and Olson LLP from 2004 to 2018, where he was an associate from 1992 to 1995. He served as an assistant U.S. attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Central District of California from 1995 to 2004. Judge Weingart served as a law clerk for the Honorable William M. Byrne Jr. at the U.S. District Court, Central District of California from 1991 to 1992. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School.
Judge Victor Viramontes fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Justice Maria Stratton. Judge Viramontes has served as a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge since 2017. Judge Viramontes was national senior counsel at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund from 2010 to 2017, where he was a staff attorney from 2001 to 2005. He was senior trial attorney at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 2008 to 2010, where he was a trial attorney from 2005 to 2008. Judge Viramontes was an associate at Heller Ehrman White and McAuliffe from 2000 to 2001. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School.