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2 L.A. Superior Court Judges Picked for U.S. Court

Judiciary: The Bush nominees, Republicans Gary Klausner and S. James Otero, are expected to win Senate confirmation.


Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Gary Klausner and S. James Otero have been nominated by President Bush to become federal District Court judges.

Klausner, 60, and Otero, 50, are expected to win Senate confirmation without difficulty, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), said Monday.

They are Republicans and were unanimously recommended for the appointments by a local bipartisan screening committee.

Their appointments would leave the federal district court with two vacancies. More than 20 active judges serve on the Los Angeles-based court, which operates branches in Santa Ana and Riverside.

Klausner, who served as presiding judge of the Superior Court during the mid-1990s, supervises the court's civil division.

A graduate of Loyola Law School, he worked as a prosecutor in the district attorney's office from 1969 to 1974, when he was appointed a court commissioner. He became a Municipal Court judge in 1980 and was promoted to the Superior Court five years later.

As presiding judge, Klausner campaigned to reform the jury system by raising juror pay and cracking down on people who ignored notices to serve. Klausner also fought a losing battle to prevent unification of the Municipal and Superior Courts in L.A. County.

Otero is assistant supervisor of the Superior Court's civil division.

The Los Angeles native earned a law degree at Stanford in 1976 and then worked for the city attorney's office as a criminal prosecutor and later as a legal advisor to the Department of Water and Power.

Otero left in 1987 to become a corporate lawyer for Southern Pacific Transportation Co., and in 1988 he was appointed a Municipal Court judge. Two years later, he was elevated to the Superior Court.

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