The Honorable William H. Orrick

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Department 2


The Hon. William H. Orrick, III is a district judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He was nominated to the bench by former President Barack Obama on June 11, 2012, filling the seat vacated by the Hon. Charles R. Breyer.

Orrick earned a B.A. from Yale University in 1976. He then completed a J.D. from Boston College Law School in 1979.

He began his legal career as an attorney with the Georgia Legal Services Program in 1979. Five years later, he relocated to San Francisco, California, where he accepted a position with Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass. He entered the firm as an associate, eventually rising to partner in 1988.

After devoting twenty-five years to Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, Orrick served as counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice from 2009 to 2010. He spent the next two years as a deputy assistant attorney general, acting as the head of the Office of Immigration Litigation of the Department of Justice.

Then, in 2013, Orrick returned to Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, where he practiced until his appointment to the bench.

During his tenure as a district judge, Orrick received national attention for his order staying the implementation of President Trump's Executive Order 13768, which sought to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities that limited their cooperation with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Orrick ruled that the Executive Order was unconstitutional, and he issued a permanent injunction against its implementation.

Orrick was born in San Francisco, California. His father, the Hon. William H. Orrick, Jr. (deceased), was a United States District Judge for the Northern District of California. He also served as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division for the Kennedy Administration.

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