July 28, 2020
Hon. Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
Dear Senator McConnell:
Inland Action would like to express our strong support for John Holcomb’s nomination to be a United States District Judge for the Central District of California. Mr. Holcomb’s nomination was reported favorably from the Judiciary Committee on July 23, 2020 and placed on the Executive Calendar as number 773. Our Court is in desperate need of qualified judges like Mr. Holcomb, and we ask that you bring his nomination to the floor for a vote of the full Senate as soon as possible.
Inland Action is a non-profit, non-partisan corporation of public-spirited leaders who have joined together to be catalysts for the economic well-being of the Inland Empire region of California since 1962. The Inland Empire is comprised of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, within the Central District of California. In 1992, Congress created the Eastern Division of the Central District to serve our region after noting the dramatic growth in population in our two Counties, how the freeways connecting the coastal and inland areas were overburdened, and the lack of easy accessibility to the Courts for the residents of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Since then, the Inland Empire population has continued to increase, and as of 2018 was up by approximately 53% to 4.6 million. Of course, the freeways connecting us to Los Angeles have not gotten any less congested in the past 27 years.
On November 21, 2019 the President nominated John Holcomb to fill a vacant seat on the Central District of California bench (one of ten current vacancies the District currently struggles under). Mr. Holcomb is very well qualified for this position. He recently joined the firm of Greenberg Gross LLP after spending 21 years at Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear LLP, including 10 years in the firm’s Riverside office. He specializes in intellectual property litigation and has litigated patent, trademark, trade secret, and copyright cases in both the federal and state courts, and at both the trial and appellate levels. Earlier in his career he was an associate at Irell & Manella LLP and prior to that, a law clerk to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Mr. Holcomb also served as a lawyer representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference and on the Central District’s Merit Selection Panel for evaluation of U.S. Magistrate Judges and took leadership roles in both the Inland Empire Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and the Riverside County Bar Association.
He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from M.I.T. and his law degree and M.B.A. from Harvard. He also graduated from the U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officer School, served four years in the NROTC at M.I.T., and five years as an active duty Commissioned Naval Officer, first on the U.S.S. New Jersey and then with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
As noted above, Mr. Holcomb has deep connections to the legal community in the Inland Empire, and has expressed his commitment to sitting in the Eastern Division once confirmed. This is incredibly important to our region. While the ten vacancies in the Central District as a whole (more than one third of the authorized judgeships in the District) has put a huge burden on the judges (and therefore the litigants) throughout the entire District, the issue is especially acute in the Eastern Division. Presently (and for roughly four years now), there is only one District Judge sitting in the Eastern Division to serve the 4.6 million people of the Inland Empire. The number of cases arising in the Eastern Division far exceeds the capacity of a single judge to preside over, however. The Court therefore reassigns cases among its three divisions (Eastern in Riverside, Southern in Santa Ana, and Western in Los Angeles) to help get the Eastern Division cases heard and to keep the number of cases per judge roughly equal District wide. That means that last year 66% of the cases filed in the Eastern Division were reassigned to a judge in one of the other divisions. In 2018, 1,174 cases that should have been heard in the Eastern Division were reassigned to another division due to the pending vacancy there.
This represents a substantial burden on the parties and their attorneys, who must travel to those courthouses for hearings and trials and incur significant additional time and expense in resolving their cases. Moreover, because juries are drawn from the local communities, these parties also face trial by a jury drawn not from their own community, but the communities of the presiding court to which their case is reassigned.
Confirmation of Mr. Holcomb will significantly help this situation in light of his commitment to sit in the Eastern Division. He is a supremely qualified nominee to serve on the District Court bench, and we severely need him here in the Inland Empire. Now that his nomination has cleared committee, we urge that it be promptly brought up for a vote of the entire Senate.
Carole Beswick, CEO
cc: Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Sen. Kamala Harris
Rep. Pete Aguilar
Rep. Ken Calvert
Rep. Paul Cook
Rep. Raul Ruiz
Rep. Mark Takano
Rep. Norma Torres