July 23, 2012
Susan Davis Introduces Bill to Name New Courthouse After
Two Trailblazers in San Diego Legal Community
Courthouse annex would be named “James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep United States Courthouse”
WASHINGTON – One spearheaded the effort to create the Southern District in California. The other opened doors for women in the legal field. Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) introduced legislation to honor their legacies by having their names on San Diego’s new federal courthouse.
As the representative for the 53rd Congressional District that includes downtown, Davis put the question to San Diego’s legal community. Whose name should grace the new courthouse? After extensive discussion, and encouraging the submission of names, the consensus choices for the new building clearly emerged – Judge James M. Carter, who was instrumental in establishing the Southern District of California and was its first Chief Judge, and Judge Judith N. Keep, the first female Chief Judge of the Southern District.
“San Diego can be proud of the legacy left behind by Judge Carter and Judge Keep,” said Davis. “They have left a lasting impression on San Diego and its legal community. Having their names on the new courthouse is an appropriate way to honor their contributions.”
The San Diego County Bar Association has endorsed Davis’s legislation. In a letter of support, SDBCA President Marvin E. Mizell wrote: “Judge Carter and Judge Keep served the public with distinction and truly reflected the San Diego legal community’s shared values of excellence and integrity.”
After many years in the planning phase and a number of delays, Davis led the San Diego congressional delegation’s effort to secure the necessary funding so that construction could begin. With the courthouse near completion, Davis has engaged with the legal community to put the finishing touches on the building. By law, federal courthouses are named with an act of Congress.
The General Services Administration recently named the $368 million federal courthouse the best of new federal buildings. The construction of the new courthouse, a job creator for San Diego, began in 2009 and is expected to be completed this year.
San Diego has one of the busiest courts in the nation. Congress expanded the court's roster from 12 to 16 lifetime-appointed judges to handle the high volume of drug, immigration and white-collar criminal cases.