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SENATE OKS WHITE FOR FEDERAL JUDGE Jeffrey White, a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, was approved by the Senate last week as the Northern District’s newest federal judge. White has been with the firm for nearly 25 years, with a wide-ranging practice as a litigator that has included employment law, fraud and white-collar crime cases, Securities and Exchange Commission investigations, and antitrust and environmental issues. White topped a list that sources say numbered around 30 — all of which were interviewed by the Northern District’s bipartisan judicial selection committee, headed by former U.S. Attorney Joe Russoniello. He was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in September. White’s selection has been praised in part because of his background as both a government and civil lawyer. Prior to coming to Orrick, White was a prosecutor in the DOJ’s Labor Racketeering Section, Super Grade Trial Counsel in the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section and criminal chief of the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Maryland. White replaces Charles Legge, who left the bench more than a year ago to become a private arbitrator. White could not be reached for comment. An Orrick spokeswoman said he took Friday off to celebrate. – Jason Hoppin DONDERO IS S.F.’S NEW ASSISTANT P.J. Judge Robert Dondero has been elected by his colleagues as the new assistant presiding judge of the San Francisco Superior Court. Dondero outpolled Judge Paul Alvarado, the only other candidate, 23-19, said Gordon Park-Li, the court’s chief executive officer, on Friday. Dondero, 57, will assume his post on Jan. 2, when new Presiding Judge Donna Hitchens also begins her two-year term overseeing court operations. Under usual court procedure, the assistant presiding judge moves up to the presiding judge role, as Hitchens has done. But there can be a contested election. Dondero said he did little in the way of campaigning for the job except to submit a statement to other judges listing his reasons for running and his qualifications. “I respect that the majority [of judges] voted for me,” he said in an interview. He said his job will be to assist Hitchens as a member of the executive committee that tends to the court’s day-to-day business. It meets monthly. Dondero worked as a San Francisco prosecutor from 1971-78, and then became an assistant U.S. attorney from 1978-92. In 1992, Gov. Pete Wilson appointed him to the municipal court and a year and half later elevated him to the superior court. Dondero, a graduate of Santa Clara University and Boalt Hall School of Law, has also taught criminal law at San Francisco Law School. – Dennis J. Opatrny STUDENTS ANGRY OVER RESCINDING OF OFFER A group of Stanford Law School students released a statement Thursday criticizing the school’s decision to rescind an offer to New York criminal defense attorney Lynne Stewart to serve as a public interest mentor at the school. Stewart found out the invitation had been revoked when she arrived in Palo Alto to speak at a student conference last week. “While we object to the Stanford administration’s decision, we do not endorse Ms. Stewart’s views about political violence,” the students wrote. “These views played no role in her invitation, nor was it a planned point of discussion before her visit was thrust into controversy.” Citing Stewart’s “tacit endorsement of the use of directed violence to achieve social change,” Stanford Dean Kathleen Sullivan rescinded the school’s offer. The dean was referring to comments attributed to Stewart in a New York Times magazine story in September in which she endorsed the use of violence “against the institutions of capitalism.” Stewart maintains her comments were taken out of context. Shahid Butar, 28, a third-year at Stanford, is the spokesman for the students organizing against the university’s decision. “To be fair, we’ve seen some surprising sources of criticism. The whole debacle has proven extraordinarily divisive,” he said. Butar said the group is circulating a petition and trying to get the school to listen to some demands. “At a minimum, we’re looking for procedural reforms: a clear articulation of criteria by which we can evaluate potential mentors; transparency in the decision-making apparatus so that we don’t get blindsided by similar ad hoc, behind-the-scenes, politically motivated decisions in the future.” Stewart is currently out of jail on a half-million-dollar bond. She was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for aiding a terrorist organization through one of her clients, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. According to the indictment, Stewart “facilitated and concealed communications between Sheikh Abdel Rahman and The Islamic Group leaders around the world.” Sullivan was not available for comment, but according to a school spokesman, Stanford will still pay Stewart the full amount agreed upon for her services. – Jason Dearen

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