U.S. District Judge Salvador Mendoza Jr. was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Monday to serve on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Mendoza, a judge for the Eastern District of Washington since 2014 who worked out of the Richland federal courthouse, was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 46-40, according to news releases from U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. The Yakima Valley native will be the first Latino from Washington state to serve on the 9th Circuit Court bench, they said.
Mendoza was nominated by President Joe Biden in April following Judge Margaret McKeown’s announcement that she would take senior status. Murray and Cantwell supported and spoke on behalf of Mendoza in the confirmation process.
Federal District Court judges are nominated by the president, confirmed by the Senate and serve lifetime appointments upon good behavior, a 2014 news release said in reporting Mendoza’s 2014 confirmation to his Eastern District post. Mendoza is the sixth federal judge from Washington state confirmed to a lifetime appointment during this Congress, Murray said.
Mendoza’s parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico and he grew up in a family of migrant farmworkers who moved from California to the Yakima Valley when he was young. Mendoza worked as a migrant farmworker as a child, Murray said.
“As a young student at Prosser High School, it was not uncommon for him to wake up before dawn to work in the fields before rushing home to change and head to school,” Cantwell said in comments supporting confirmation.
Mendoza received his bachelor of arts degree in philosophy in 1994 from the University of Washington and his law degree from UCLA School of Law in 1997. Mendoza briefly worked for Murray as an intern.
From 1997 to 1998, Mendoza was an assistant attorney general in the Washington state Attorney General’s Office. He served as a deputy prosecutor for Franklin County from 1998-99. Mendoza was in private practice from 1999 to 2013 and also served as a judge pro tempore in local courts. Mendoza served as judge on the Benton-Franklin Superior Court bench from 2013-14.
“Beyond just his impeccable professional qualifications, Judge Mendoza will bring an important perspective to one of the most consequential appellate courts in this country: the perspective of someone whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico and worked as farm laborers, maids and factory workers to build a better life for their family,” Murray said.
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