Lucy Koh

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Lucy Koh
20151027 Hon. Lucy Koh ASA 9355 43 19 pp.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Assumed office
June 9, 2010
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byRonald Whyte
Judge of the Santa Clara County Superior Court
In office
Appointed byArnold Schwarzenegger
Preceded byRandolf Rice
Personal details
Lucy Haeran Koh

(1968-08-07) August 7, 1968 (age 50)
Washington, D.C.
Spouse(s)Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar
EducationHarvard College (A.B.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)

Lucy Haeran Koh (born August 7, 1968) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and is a former nominee to be a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She is the first Asian American United States district court judge in the Northern District of California, the first district court judge of Korean descent in the United States, the first female Korean American Article III judge, and the second Korean American federal judge, after Herbert Choy of the Ninth Circuit.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Norman, Oklahoma, Koh graduated from Norman High School in 1986. She was an officer of her high school's chapter of the National Honor Society. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College in Social Studies in 1990 and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1993.[3][4][5]

Professional career[edit]

From 1993 until 1994, Koh worked for the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary as a Women's Law and Public Policy Fellow. From 1994 until 1997, Koh worked for the United States Department of Justice, first as a Special Counsel in the Office of Legislative Affairs (1994–1996) and then as a Special Assistant to the United States Deputy Attorney General (1996–1997).[6] From 1997 until 2000, Koh served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Central District of California. From 2000 until 2002, she worked as a Senior Associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, a Palo Alto, California law firm. From 2002 until 2008, Koh worked as a litigation partner at the Silicon Valley office of the law firm McDermott Will & Emery representing technology companies in patent, trade secret and commercial civil matters.[7] In January 2008, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Koh a judge on the Superior Court of California for Santa Clara County, a position she held until becoming a U.S. district judge in 2010.[6][5]

Federal judicial service[edit]

On January 20, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Koh on the recommendation of California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein to a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California vacated by judge Ronald M. Whyte, who assumed senior status in 2009.[4] On March 4, 2010, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to move her nomination to the full Senate.[8] The Senate confirmed Koh in a 90–0 vote on June 7, 2010.[9] She received her commission on June 9, 2010.[5]

On February 25, 2016, President Obama nominated Koh to serve as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, to the seat vacated by Judge Harry Pregerson, who took senior status on December 11, 2015.[10][11] On July 13, 2016 a hearing on her nomination was held before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[12] On September 15, 2016 her nomination was reported out of committee by a vote of 13–7. Her nomination expired on January 3, 2017, with the end of the 114th Congress.[5] President Donald Trump would later appoint Daniel P. Collins to the same seat in 2019.[13]

Tenure as district court judge[edit]

Koh has recently overseen multidistrict litigation involving alleged privacy violations by Apple, Inc. She has also overseen multidistrict privacy litigation against Google's Gmail.

In Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., on June 26 and June 29, 2012, respectively, Koh granted Apple Inc. preliminary injunctions against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet[14] (which she later dissolved[15] after the case was remanded by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals)[16] and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone[17] (on October 11, 2012 the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals "reversed and remanded" this decision while the case is in appeal).[18] Her comment that Apple attorneys must be "smoking crack" if they thought 75 pages of witnesses would be called in the last few hours allotted for Apple was widely reported.[19][20][21]

In January 2014, Koh ordered seven technology companies‍—‌Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar‍—‌to face antitrust litigation for adhering to secret agreements not to hire each other's employees, the High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation.[22][disputed ][importance?]

Personal life[edit]

Koh is married to California Supreme Court Justice and former Stanford law professor Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar.[23] They have two children.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bob Egelko, Obama picks Korean American for federal bench, San Francisco Chronicle (January 22, 2010).
  2. ^ "CAPAC Chair Chu Commends President Obama on Diversity of Judicial Nominations". Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  3. ^ Lucy Koh '93 nominated to serve as federal district court judge (January 29, 2010). Archived June 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b President Obama Nominates Five to Serve on the United States District Court Bench Archived 2010-02-06 at the Wayback Machine, (January 20, 2010).
  5. ^ a b c d "Koh, Lucy Haeran – Federal Judicial Center".
  6. ^ a b Governor Schwarzenegger Appoints Lucy Koh to Santa Clara County Superior Court (January 25, 2008).
  7. ^ "Senate Confirms Lucy Haeran Koh as Federal Judge in California's Northern District". Metropolitan News Company. June 8, 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  8. ^ Egelko, Bob (2010-03-04). "San Jose judge one step away from federal bench". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  9. ^ "Kagan Nomination Not Stopping Other Nominees". The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times. June 7, 2010. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  10. ^ "President Obama Nominates Judge Lucy Haeran Koh to serve on the United States Court of Appeals". 25 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate". 25 February 2016.
  12. ^ "United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary".
  13. ^ Roll Call Vote 116th Congress - 1st Session United States Senate Vote Summary: Vote Number 118, United States Senate, May 21, 2019
  14. ^ Gorman, Michael (June 26, 2012). "Judge Koh stops US sales of Galaxy Tab 10.1, puts a smack down on Samsung (updated)". Engadget. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  15. ^ "Judge Koh Dissolves Preliminary Injunction on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1; Apple May Owe Samsung ~pj". Groklaw. October 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  16. ^ "Samsung Wins Reconsideration of Preliminary Injunction; Appeals Ct. Gives Judge Koh Authority to Rule ~pj Updated". Groklaw. September 28, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  17. ^ Fingas, Jon (June 29, 2012). "Apple lands preliminary ban against Samsung Galaxy Nexus in the US (update: search patent the key)". Engadget. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  18. ^ "Appeals Court Rules Samsung Can Sell Galaxy Nexus During Appeal; District Ct. "Abused Its Discretion" ~ pj". Groklaw. October 11, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  19. ^ Lowensohn, Josh (16 August 2012). "Judge says Apple's 'smoking crack' with giant witness list". Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  20. ^ Greene, David (16 August 2012). "Samsung Vows To Appeal Patent Verdict". Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  21. ^ Wingfield, Nick (19 August 2012). "In Apple's Patent Case, Tech Shifts May Follow". Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  22. ^ Hesseldahl, Arik (April 19, 2012). "Federal Judge Forces Apple, Google, Others To Face Antitrust Suit". AllThingsD. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  23. ^ Howard Mintz, Santa Clara County judge becomes first Asian-American federal judge in Bay Area history, San Jose Mercury News (June 7, 2010).
  24. ^ Kristen V. Brown: In Silicon Valley, Lucy Koh is the law, SFGate, August 10, 2014

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Ronald M. Whyte
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California