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Lucy H. Koh

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Lucy H. Koh
Lucy H. Koh.jpg
Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #13
Appointed by:   Barack Obama
Active:   6/9/2010 - Present
Preceded by:   Ronald Whyte
Personal History
Born:   1968
Hometown:   Washington, DC
Undergraduate:   Harvard U., B.A., 1990
Law School:   Harvard Law School, J.D., 1993

Lucy H. Koh is a judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.[1] She was nominated by President Barack Obama on January 20, 2010, and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 90-0 on June 7, 2010.[2]

Early life and education

Judge Koh earned her bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1990 and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1993.[3]

Professional career

  • 1996-1997: Special Assistant to the Deputy Attorney General
  • 1994-1996: Special Counsel, Office of Legislative Affairs
  • 1993-1994: Fellow, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary[1][2]

Judicial career

Northern District of California

Nomination Tracker
 Candidate:Lucy H. Koh
 Court:Northern District of California
 Progress:Confirmed 138 days after nomination.
ApprovedANominated:January 20, 2010
ApprovedAABA Rating:Unanimously Qualified
ApprovedAHearing:February 11, 2010
ApprovedAReported:March 4, 2010 
ApprovedAConfirmed:June 7, 2010
 Vote: 90-0

On January 20, 2010, on the recommendation of Senator Barbara Boxer, President Obama nominated Koh to fill a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.[3] She was nominated to the seat vacated when Ronald Whyte assumed senior status.[4]

Koh was the first Korean-American district judge in United States history.[5][6]

Koh was rated Unanimously Qualified by the American Bar Association.[7]

Senate Judiciary Committee hearing

Koh's Public Questionnaire Available Here
Questions for the Record available here

Koh had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 11, 2010. She received some questions from Republican Senator Jeff Sessions regarding her writings in law school where she said that minority judges must maintain the "disguise of objectivity" or face challenges. Sessions expressed concern about what that might mean about her own objectivity on the bench. Koh responded by saying that she'd forgotten that she ever wrote the passage and that she "completely disagree[d] that there [was] no objectivity. Our rule of law would break down if everyone were to insert their own personal biases."[8] The Committee voted to forward her nomination to the full Senate on March 4, 2010, and on June 7, 2010, the Senate voted 90-0 to confirm Koh as a federal judge.[9][10][11]

Awards and associations

Notable cases

Dismissal of suit over website's disclosure of members' HIV status (2014)

     United States District Court for the Northern District of California (Doe v., 5:13-cv-03376-LHK)

On April 16, 2014, Judge Koh granted's motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' suit for failure to state a claim for which relief could be granted, specifically, that the website would keep private their STD- and HIV-positive statuses.[12]

In the underlying case, plaintiffs Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 joined the site, a website operated by, which was marketed toward daters with sexually transmitted diseases. They asserted that they were "lured" into joining the site by the defendant's "empathetic sounding statements." Plaintiffs claimed they were unaware of the fact that the details of their "anonymous" profiles (i.e., their STD statuses) would be available to all of's users. Thereafter, plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit in July 2013, alleging violations of California's deceptive business practices law as well as its Consumer Legal Remedies Act.[12]

The defendant website company filed a motion to dismiss the case, and Judge Koh granted it, noting that Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 "failed to specifically allege that they saw any of the statements that they claim [were] misleading, or how the website statements impacted their decisions to register with defendant's website." In addition, Koh wrote that the plaintiffs' claims failed due to the fact that they did not "allege how knowledge of defendant's omissions about affiliated sites would have impacted [their] decision to register for"[12]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Ronald Whyte
Northern District of California
Seat #13
Succeeded by:

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