the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

Search form

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Nominates Three to Serve on the United States Courts of Appeals

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama nominated Michelle T. Friedland, Justice Nancy L. Moritz and John B. Owens for seats on the United States Courts of Appeals.

“Michelle T. Friedland, Justice Nancy L. Moritz and John B. Owens will bring an unwavering commitment to fairness and judicial integrity to the federal bench,” President Obama said.  “Their impressive legal careers are testaments to the kind of thoughtful and diligent judges they will be on the Ninth and Tenth Circuits.  I am honored to nominate them today.”

Michelle T. Friedland:  Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Michelle T. Friedland is a litigation partner in the San Francisco office of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP.  She has extensive litigation experience at the state and federal trial court and appellate levels, including litigating before the United States Supreme Court.

Friedland was born in Berkeley, California.  She received her undergraduate degree with honors in 1995 from Stanford University, then studied at Oxford University on a Fulbright Scholarship, and then attended Stanford Law School, where she graduated second in her class in 2000.  After graduating from law school, Friedland clerked for Judge David Tatel on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and then clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the United States Supreme Court.  Next, Friedland completed a two-year lectureship at Stanford Law School, before she joined Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP as an associate in 2004.  She became a partner with the firm in January 2010.    

During her legal career, Friedland has represented a number of corporate clients in cases involving a wide range of legal issues, including antitrust, tax, patent, copyright, and consumer class actions.  She also has frequently represented the University of California in cases involving constitutional issues.  She maintains an active pro bono practice, for which the State Bar of California recently named her a recipient of the 2013 President’s Pro Bono Service Award.  Friedland also has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia Law School, teaching a course on constitutional issues in higher education. 

Justice Nancy L. Moritz:  Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Justice Nancy L. Moritz has served as a Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court since 2011.  She has had a lengthy career as both a jurist and as an advocate, during which she has handled a broad array of legal matters before both state and federal courts.

Justice Moritz was born in Beloit, Kansas and was raised in the small community of Tipton, Kansas.  She received her B.B.A. from Washburn University in Topeka in 1982, and her J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in 1985.  Upon graduation from law school, Justice Moritz worked as a research attorney for Justice Harold Herd on the Kansas Supreme Court and then served as a law clerk on the United States District Court for the District of Kansas.  In 1989, she joined the law firm Spencer Fane Britt & Browne, where she handled civil litigation matters for six years.  Justice Moritz became an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Kansas in 1995, where she handled civil litigation matters until she was selected to serve as the Appellate Coordinator for the District in 2000.  In that capacity, Justice Moritz supervised all civil and criminal appeals and personally argued approximately 25 appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.  Justice Moritz was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals, the state’s intermediate appellate court, in October 2004.  She was appointed to the Kansas Supreme Court in 2011. 

Throughout much of her career, Justice Moritz was an active member of the Board of Editors of the Kansas Bar Journal, and she was the first woman to chair that organization.  She has also served on the Kansas CLE Commission, the Tenth Circuit Advisory Committee, and the Board of Governors of the Washburn University School of Law. 

John B. Owens:  Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
John B. Owens has been a litigation partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP since January 2012, following more than a decade of service as a federal prosecutor in California.

Owens was born in Washington, D.C.  He received his B.A. with high distinction in 1993 from the University of California, Berkeley and then attended Stanford Law School, where he graduated first in his class in 1996.  After graduating from law school, Owens clerked for Judge J. Clifford Wallace of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and then clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court.  Following his clerkships, Owens worked as a trial attorney in the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Litigation from 1998 to 1999 and as a litigation associate at the law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington, D.C., from 2000 to 2001.

In 2001, Owens became an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California.  He transferred to the Southern District of California in 2004 and became the Chief of the Criminal Division in that District in 2010.  As a prosecutor, Owens focused on white collar and border crime prosecutions, and his extensive trial and appellate experience earned him awards from the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and other federal law enforcement agencies.  He left the United States Attorney’s Office in 2012 to become a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson, where his practice focuses on complex business and Supreme Court litigation.