The Honorable William Alsup

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Department 12


The Hon. William Alsup is a district judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He was nominated to the bench by former President Bill Clinton on March 24, 1999, filling a seat vacated by the Hon. Thelton Henderson.

Alsup earned a B.S. in mathematics from Mississippi State University in 1967. He then continued his studies, completing a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an M.P.P. from Harvard University in 1971.

He began his legal career as a law clerk for Justice William O. Douglas of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1971. The following year, he accepted a position as an attorney at Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco. Then, in 1978, he took a leave of absence from the firm in order to serve as assistant to the United States Solicitor General in the United States Department of Justice. He served there for two years, eventually returning to Morrison & Foerster in 1980. He practiced at Morrison & Foerster for the next eighteen years but briefly left to serve a short stint as special counsel in the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice in 1998. Later that year, he returned once again to Morrison & Foerster. He practiced there until his nomination to the bench in 1999.

Alsup gained national attention after he granted a temporary injunction halting President Donald Trump’s rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) on January 9, 2018.

He is a recipient of the Tara L. Riedley Barristers Choice Award from the Bar Association of San Francisco (2013) as well as the Award of Recognition from Lewis and Clark Law School (2013).

Alsup was born in Jackson, Mississippi. While not presiding over cases, he enjoys exploring the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He has written two historical accounts about the region. The first examines the 1864 expedition of the California Geological Survey, and the second investigates the 1933 disappearance of mountaineer Walter “Pete” Starr.

For full print and download access, please subscribe at

Please wait a moment while we load this page.