EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Board of Supervisors dished out support for the potential second Imperial Valley native to become a member of the District Court in San Diego and the second Latina among 61 US District Court judges in the state — Judge Ruth Bermudez Montenegro — with a letter backing the presidential nomination.
The letter states, “During her tenure (as assistant county counsel in Imperial County), Judge Montenegro was always able to communicate with all parties involved in a calm, professional, and courteous manner. Throughout her career, and in her other professional capacities, Judge Montenegro has exhibited and developed many qualities required of a good judge, including integrity, intelligence, legal education, ability to communicate, temperament, and the ability to fairly consider all sides of an event.”
The letter was addressed to Chairman on the Judiciary United States Senate, Richard J. Durbin, and Ranking Member on the Judiciary United States Senate, Charles E. Grassley.
The letter states, “Additionally, she has a commitment to improve the quality of life for the residents of Imperial County and a high sense of civic responsibility, which is evident in her work through public service, charitable organizations, and community-based organizations that have focused on increasing access to higher education and creating leadership development opportunities for youth.”
California senators, Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, applauded the nomination in a press release following the initial announcement.
President Joe Biden nominated Judge Montenegro to serve on the United States District Court for the Southern District of California on Nov. 3. Following nominations, the candidates are sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration where a hearing is held concerning the nominee. Witnesses and individuals supporting and opposing the nomination present their view to the committee. The nominee’s qualifications, judgement, and philosophy are called into question before the Judiciary Committee members cast their votes.
Following the Senate Judiciary Committee votes, the full Senate then debates the nomination before voting — a simple majority is needed for the nominee to be confirmed.
Montenegro was nominated to replace Judge John A. Houston, who assumed senior status on Feb. 6, 2018.
Montenegro has served as a magistrate judge on the US District Court for the Southern District of California since August 2018. From 2012 to 2013, and again from 2015 to 2018, she served as a judge on the Imperial County Superior Court in California. Judge Montenegro served as the Imperial County Superior Court’s Family Support commissioner from 2013 to 2015. She was assistant County Counsel for Imperial County from 2011 to 2012 and also served as a deputy County Counsel IV in 2000. Judge Montenegro served as assistant superintendent for Human Resources and Administrative Services for the El Centro Elementary School District in Imperial County from 2002 to 2011 and served as director of Human Resources for the Imperial Community College District from 2000 to 2002. She was previously an attorney at Horton, Knox, Carter & Foote, LLP from 1993 to 2000.
Judge Montenegro received her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law in 1992, her B.A., summa cum laude, from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 1989, and her A.A., with honors, from Imperial Valley College in 1987.