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Senate Confirms 2 for District Court


The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed President Bush's nominations of attorneys Percy Anderson and Jack Walter to become federal district court judges in Los Angeles.

Anderson, 52, and Walter, 57, were tapped for federal judgeships by Bush's father in 1992. However, their nominations died without action by the Senate in the waning days of his administration.

Thursday's action had been eagerly awaited at the Los Angeles federal courthouse. With six judicial vacancies, the 21 active U.S. District Court judges have had to bear an exceptionally heavy caseload for many months.

"We're very excited," Chief U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall said after learning of the Senate's unanimous vote. "We have waited a long time for this."

Marshall said the average caseload now exceeds 300 per judge, a record high.

Anderson, 52, a political independent, is a partner at the law firm of Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal. Walter, 57, a Republican, is a senior partner at Walter, Finestone & Richter, a firm he founded.

After graduating from UCLA School of Law, Anderson worked for three years at San Fernando Valley Neighborhood Legal Services before joining the criminal division of the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles in 1979. He left the office in 1985 for private practice, specializing in civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense.

Anderson served on the Christopher Commission, which investigated racism and brutality in the Los Angeles Police Department more than a decade ago.

A graduate of Loyola Law School, Walter served as a federal prosecutor from 1970 to 1972. He won a conviction in a major case involving a gang of sophisticated thieves that burglarized a Laguna Niguel bank, rifled every safety deposit box and escaped with millions of dollars.

Walter later joined a national law firm and subsequently founded his firm, which specializes in complex civil cases. He has served for more than 20 years on a panel of attorneys who represent indigent defendants in criminal cases.

Anderson and Walter were unanimously recommended to the White House last year by a six-member screening committee of Republican and Democratic lawyers. An American Bar Assn. screening committee gave both men its highest rating.

No date has been set for a swearing-in ceremony.

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