Charles Breyer

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Charles Breyer
Charles Breyer District Judge.jpg
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Assumed office
December 31, 2011
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California
In office
November 12, 1997 – December 31, 2011
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by D. Lowell Jensen
Succeeded by William Orrick III
Personal details
Born Charles Roberts Breyer
1941 (age 76–77)
San Francisco, California
Relations Justice Stephen Breyer (brother)
Education Harvard University (A.B.)
UC Berkeley School of Law (J.D.)
Judge Charles Breyer's official portrait for the U.S. District Court was painted by Scott Wallace Johnston

Charles Roberts Breyer (born 1941) is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Early life and career

Born in San Francisco, California, Breyer received an Artium Baccalaureus degree from Harvard College in 1963 and a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law in 1966. He was a law clerk to Judge Oliver Carter of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California from 1966 to 1967. He was a Counsel, Legal Aid Society of San Francisco in 1967, and was then an assistant district attorney for the City & County of San Francisco, California from 1967 to 1973.

Breyer was an assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force from 1973 to 1974, and then entered private practice in San Francisco from 1974 to 1997, interrupted by a brief stint as chief assistant district attorney of the City and County of San Francisco in 1979.

Federal judicial service

On July 24, 1997, Breyer was nominated by President Bill Clinton to a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California vacated by D. Lowell Jensen. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 8, 1997, and received his commission on November 12, 1997. He took senior status on December 31, 2011. He served as a Member of the United States Judicial Conference from 2006 to 2010. He has served as a Member of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation since 2011. He served as Vice Chair of the United States Sentencing Commission from 2013 to 2016 and as a Member of the same commission since 2017.

Notable cases

Breyer presided over the Ed Rosenthal trial in 2007, in Rosenthal's federal prosecution for distribution of marijuana for medical use. He also presided over the stock-options backdating trial of Brocade Communications Systems CEO Gregory Reyes in 2007.

In 2014, he ruled against the City of San Francisco's legislation to protect tenants from Ellis Act evictions.[1] He presided over the 2014 criminal case involving San Francisco police theft[2] and racist texting, in which his court order was blamed for the delay in releasing information.[3]

Following the Volkswagen emissions scandal, Breyer had approved $16.5 billion settlement for US consumers. Volkswagen agreed to redeem an estimated of 475,000 polluting 2.0 diesel automobiles in the US.[4]

Personal life

Breyer is the brother of United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.[5] Justice Breyer has recused himself from appeals of cases tried by his brother: Olympic Airways v. Husain, Department of Housing and Urban Development v. Rucker, United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative, Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms,[6] Amgen, Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds and City and County of San Francisco v. Sheehan.[7][8][9][10]


  1. ^ Egelko, Bob (2014-10-22). "Judge tosses S.F. law meant to shield evicted tenants". SFGate. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  2. ^ Egelko, Bob (2015-02-23). "'Day of shame': Ex-SFPD sergeant gets prison in scandal". SFGate. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  3. ^ Egelko, Bob (2015-04-17). "Delay in alerting S.F. police brass about texts could hurt case". SFGate. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  4. ^ "Judge Breryer: Volkswagen makes 'substantial progress' toward 3.0 liter diesel agreement". Speedlux. 6 November 2016.
  5. ^ Scheck, Justin (September 1, 2005). "Federal Judge Breyer Runs Up Against Brother's Supreme Court Ruling". The Recorder. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
  6. ^ Recent Case: Northern District of California Holds That Exclusive Review Provision Bars Endangered Species Act Claim in Suit over Pesticide Used on Genetically Modified Hay, 120 Harv. L. Rev. 2222 (2007).
  7. ^ Eugene Volokh (2010-02-09). "O Brother, Where Art Thou? - The Volokh Conspiracy". Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  8. ^ "Breyer recuses self in Monsanto; Critics ask: why didn't Thomas? – DC Dicta". 2010-04-28. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  9. ^ "Amgen Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds". SCOTUSblog. 2013-02-27. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  10. ^ "Opinion analysis: No new limit on police use of force". SCOTUSblog. 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2017-02-23.

External links

  • FJC Bio
Legal offices
Preceded by
D. Lowell Jensen
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Succeeded by
William Orrick III
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