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Michael Walter Fitzgerald (born July 11, 1959) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.[1]

Michael Walter Fitzgerald
Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California
Assumed office
March 15, 2012
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byHoward Matz
Personal details
Michael Walter Fitzgerald

(1959-07-11) July 11, 1959 (age 60)
Los Angeles, California
EducationHarvard College (A.B.)
UC Berkeley School of Law (J.D.)


Early life and educationEdit

Fitzgerald was born in Los Angeles, California, on July 11, 1959.[2] He earned an Artium Baccalaureus from Harvard College in 1981 and a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 1985.[3] After law school, Fitzgerald worked as a law clerk for Judge Irving Kaufman on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.[4][5]

Professional careerEdit

Fitzgerald worked at the Law Offices of Robert L. Corbin from 1995 to 1998 and at Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe from 1991 to 1995.[6] From 1988 until 1991, Fitzgerald worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California.[3] From 1998, until his appointment to the Federal bench, Fitzgerald was part of a small Los Angeles law firm, Corbin, Fitzgerald & Athey, which handles white collar criminal defense and business litigation.[4][5]

Federal judicial serviceEdit

On July 20, 2011, President Obama nominated Fitzgerald to the judicial seat on the United States District Court for the Central District of California formerly held by Howard Matz.[4] Fitzgerald is the fourth openly gay candidate nominated by Obama to a federal judgeship, after Edward DuMont, J. Paul Oetken, and Alison J. Nathan.[1] He received a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 4, 2011, and the committee reported his nomination to the floor of the Senate on November 3, 2011, his nomination being placed on the Senate Executive Calendar that same day.[7] On March 15, 2012, the Senate confirmed Fitzgerald in a 91–6 vote.[8] He received his commission the same day.[5]

In February 2018, Fitzgerald's ruling in Sean Hall and Nathan Butler's unsuccessful copyright lawsuit against Taylor Swift received international attention.[9][10]


Fitzgerald is openly gay and was the first openly LGBT person to be appointed to the federal bench in California.[11]


  1. ^ a b Phillip, Abby (July 20, 2011). "Obama to nominate fourth openly gay judicial candidate". Politico. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
  2. ^ "Lawyer Profile: Michael W. Fitzgerald". Martindale. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Corbin, Fitzgerald & Athey LLP. "Attorneys: Michael W. Fitzgerald". Retrieved July 21, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c The White House: Office of the Press Secretary (July 20, 2011). "President Obama Announces His Intent to Nominate Michael Walter Fitzgerald to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California". Retrieved July 21, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c "Fitzgerald, Michael Walter – Federal Judicial Center".
  6. ^ "Senate Confirms Michael W. Fitzgerald as District Judge for Central District of California" (PDF). Ninth Circuit. March 15, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  7. ^ "Home – United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary".
  8. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 112th Congress – 2nd Session".
  9. ^ "Hall v Swift Dismissal | Substantial Similarity | Federal Rules Of Civil Procedure". Scribd. Retrieved 2018-02-14.
  10. ^ Savage, Mark (2018-02-14). "Swift lyric too 'banal' to copyright". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-02-14.
  11. ^ Bob Egelko (2012-03-16). "Michael Fitzgerald 1st openly gay U.S. judge in CA". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-03-16.

External linksEdit