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U.S. Senate Unanimously Confirms Appeals Judge

Carlos T. Bea will leave the San Francisco Superior Court for the federal 9th Circuit.

September 30, 2003|Henry Weinstein | Times Staff Writer

By an overwhelming vote of 93-0, the U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed San Francisco Superior Court Judge Carlos T. Bea to a position on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Bea, 69, had cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 19-0 vote just a few days ago, paving the way for Monday's vote.

Bea's confirmation means that President Bush has now placed four judges on the 9th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over cases from nine Western states, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Bush has frequently complained about the pace of confirmations of his nominees, but Bea's took only five months -- relatively brief in this era.

Moreover, Bush has been able to get more judges confirmed to the San Francisco-based court in 2 1/2 years than his predecessor Bill Clinton was able to secure during his first five years in office.

Bea was born in Spain in 1934. His family moved to Cuba when he was 5 and he played on the Cuban national basketball team in the 1952 Olympics, before he became a U.S. citizen. He attended Stanford University and Stanford Law School.

He spent 30 years in private practice, specializing in representing corporations in civil litigation. Bea also was an adjunct professor of law at Hastings College of the Law and served as honorary consul general of Spain in San Francisco, before being appointed to the Superior Court there in 1990 by Gov. George Deukmejian.

As a state court judge, Bea has presided over several large civil cases, including one that concluded with several large oil companies paying millions to clean up drinking water wells contaminated with MTBE, a gasoline additive suspected of causing cancer.

Although Bea is a longtime Republican, he also has ties to prominent Democrats. San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown Jr. supported the nomination, as did California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno and the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Assn.

Bea was not available for comment Monday.

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