Senator stumps Fresno Federal judge during Ninth Circuit confirmation hearing

Judge Ana de Alba is up for a seat on the powerful Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She couldn’t answer a simple legal question from one GOP Senator.

Fresno-based Federal district court judge Ana De Alba found herself on the wrong side of another viral moment before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

De Alba, a former Fresno County Superior Court judge before being nominated to California’s Eastern District Federal court last year, was tapped to serve on the controversial Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by President Joe Biden.


Driving the news: During her confirmation hearing on Wednesday, de Alba, a nominee for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals under President Biden, struggled to explain legal terms related to the Constitution’s commerce clause.

  • Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) asked de Alba about the dormant commerce clause, which prohibits one state from discriminating against interstate commerce and disallows states to “unduly burden interstate commerce.”
  • De Alba responded that she was “somewhat” familiar with the law and knew it could be found under the first article of the Constitution. However, she couldn’t elaborate much on the commerce clause of the Constitution as a whole.
  • When asked for examples of other people the law allowed Congress to regulate, de Alba said, “It’s not coming to mind right now, Senator.”
  • Kennedy reminded de Alba that a Supreme Court case related to the clause came out of California, but she still could not elaborate. De Alba apologized and said she would be better prepared next time.
  • Kennedy has previously stumped Biden’s judicial nominees, including Kato Crews, a nominee for district judge on the U.S. District Court of Colorado, over the Brady motion, which determines that the prosecution must give potentially favorable evidence to the defense.

Watch the clip:

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