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Who is Judge Virginia A. Phillips?

By Ed O'Keefe

The federal judge who ordered the military to stop enforcing its "don't ask, don't tell" policy has spent almost her entire life in and around Riverside, Calif.

Virginia A. Phillips is a native of nearby Orange and graduated from the University of California, Riverside. She earned a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and returned to Riverside to work as a private attorney from 1982 to 1991.

She then served on the Riverside Superior Court until 1995, when she moved to the federal level as a magistrate judge. President Bill Clinton nominated her in 1999 to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, based in ... Riverside.

Phillips is a widow who lives with two fox terriers and enjoys annual walking tours of Europe, according to a New York Times profile published last month.

Serving as a federal judge provides "the variety of human drama -- every day, there's a new case," she told The Times.

Conservative leaders last month labeled Phillips a "judicial activist" after she ruled "don't ask, don't tell" unconstitutional.

But, she said "I really try to treat every case as the most important case. Because it is the most important case to the parties involved."

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 12, 2010; 7:27 PM ET
Categories:  Public Service  
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Next: 'Don't ask, don't tell': Now what?!

Comments

How about this - graduation from any college in California should automatically disqualify you from serving on any Federal Court - anywhere or anytime. Graduates from these schools have no idea what the U.S Constitution says much less how to apply it.

Posted by: twoeagle | October 12, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

We don't need activist judges forcing policy upon us.

Like it or hate it this judge is out of bounds.

Posted by: Jaymand | October 12, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, the DADT decision and her views are well within the mainstream of American Constitutional Law. A foolish comment by a poster as to matriculation from a California university only reflects the absence of serious commentary. I was graduated from a Jesuit law school in Louisiana.

Posted by: louis-michel | October 12, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

A Berkley loony liberal is deciding the fate of millions, unfathomable.

Posted by: cleancut77 | October 12, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

"Activist judge" simply means that the speaker/writer doesn't like the judge's ruling. The right wing created this label in its never-ending, unquenchable demand for total and complete control of everything in everyone's life.

Posted by: muleman | October 12, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Bravo Judge Phillips!

Posted by: paris1969 | October 12, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse


Who is she? She's an idiot of the first order! She obviously doesn't like men, or they do not like her, not that it matters though. She is a native Californian, and is a lawyer, which really explains just about all anyone needs to know.

Posted by: surfer-joe | October 12, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

It's about time. We wring our hands with concern over gay suicides and acts of violence towards gays, yet we're still not quite connecting the dots.

Until gays are afforded equal rights as equal human beings, we're still failing to live up to the ideals of liberty and justice for all.

What's so hard about the concept of equality? I can't believe, in the year 2010 in the United States, we're still debating whether or not gay people are equal or not. Come on, country, get over it already.

DADT is a sorry and shameful law, and it can't die soon enough. Good riddance.

Posted by: KathyHoganEsq | October 13, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Another nail in the Democratic coffin.
The perfect storm.
Some socialist judge dictating what America shall be.
In her eyes.
In Obama's eyes.
No, thanks.
See you Nov. 2nd.

Posted by: robtay12003 | October 13, 2010 12:54 AM | Report abuse

isn`t this amazing how these federal judges interpit the US CONSTITUTION.they us this DOCUMENT for every menial lawsuit,yet we are a country without a a legal language even though this PAPER is written and spoken in ENGLISH.

Posted by: SISSD1 | October 13, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

SISSD1, before you comment on federal judges not being able to interpret the Constitution, I'd suggest you yourself learn a little English. Along with your misspellings, there was an appalling lack of understanding of grammar and punctuation.

surfer-joe, I fail to see any evidence in this article that the judge "obviously doesn't like men, or they do not like her". She's a widow; I would extrapolate from that that comment that she's been married at least once to a man.

louis-michel, muleman, and KathyHoganEsq are 100% correct. Bravo to them, and shame on those who spread hatred.

Posted by: dcgrasso1 | October 13, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Bravo Judge Phillips!!!

What I find unfathomable is some of the comments in this forum. How intellectually challenged some of the people are is astounding.

First of all, its hypocritical and disingenuous to accuse this judge of being a socialist activist judge in making a judgment on the case based on Constitutional law, when conservative activist Supreme Ct. justices selected Bush to be president in the 2000 election and handed down a ruling in the Citizens United case that will undermine our democratic election process this year and in years to come. The average citizen will be basically outbid for representation by the President and the Congress by big corporate interests. And, that effects us all.

Secondly, to state that this judge is forcing policy on the US is lunacy of the first order and shows a lack of understanding of our system of checks and balances between the President, the Congress and Judiciary and how the Constitution is used by the Judiciary to determine which laws are Constitutional or not. Seriously did any of you take any government classes in high school or civics classes in junior high?

Thirdly, the personal attacks of this judge and where she is from and went to law school is just too juvenile to even address.

Where did these people come from and what alternate universe do they live in and want to kidnap this nation to? Do we still live in the US of America?

Posted by: denise4925 | October 13, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Bravo Judge Phillips!!!

What I find unfathomable is some of the comments in this forum. How intellectually challenged some of the people are is astounding.

First of all, its hypocritical and disingenuous to accuse this judge of being a socialist activist judge in making a judgment on the case based on Constitutional law, when conservative activist Supreme Ct. justices selected Bush to be president in the 2000 election and handed down a ruling in the Citizens United case that will undermine our democratic election process this year and in years to come. The average citizen will be basically outbid for representation by the President and the Congress by big corporate interests. And, that effects us all.

Secondly, to state that this judge is forcing policy on the US is lunacy of the first order and shows a lack of understanding of our system of checks and balances between the President, the Congress and Judiciary and how the Constitution is used by the Judiciary to determine which laws are Constitutional or not. Seriously did any of you take any government classes in high school or civics classes in junior high?

Thirdly, the personal attacks of this judge and where she is from and went to law school is just too juvenile to even address.

Where did these people come from and what alternate universe do they live in and want to kidnap this nation to? Do we still live in the US of America?

Posted by: denise4925 | October 13, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

How about this - graduation from any college in California should automatically disqualify you from serving on any Federal Court - anywhere or anytime. Graduates from these schools have no idea what the U.S Constitution says much less how to apply it.

Posted by: twoeagle | October 12, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

AND

We don't need activist judges forcing policy upon us.

Like it or hate it this judge is out of bounds.

Posted by: Jaymand | October 12, 2010 10:05 _______
Wow, so anyone from our mst populous state, the state that set forward thinking laws on EPA, divorse, inter-racial marriage, minimum wage laws, consumer rights laws, has "no idea about the constitution"? Laughable.

As for Jaymand, look up a little case called Marbury vs Madison in 1802 that set judicial review for the courts for the last 200 years. The judge is not out of bounds, if you knew your constitutional and judicial history.

Posted by: cadam72 | October 13, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

This is nothing more than a liberal judge from California trying to be an activist from the bench. If some of you people who are spending time criticizing the punctuation and grammar of other posters weren't so naive, you might see it, too. Let me be the first to welcome you to reality.

Posted by: dzfritch | October 13, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

twoeagle and Jaymand amuse me.
They want to install their own form of discrimination -- no California judges need apply.
Judge Phillips is not an activist judge.
Instead, she is simply applying the oath of office she took -- to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.
Apparently they didn't find the Supreme Court justices who ruled corporations were "persons" which have the same right of free speech as citizens of the United States too "activist," or did they?
Talk about rewriting laws -- now, THAT's "activist."

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | October 13, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

twoeagle and Jaymand amuse me.
They want to install their own form of discrimination -- no California judges need apply.
Judge Phillips is not an activist judge.
Instead, she is simply applying the oath of office she took -- to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.
Apparently they didn't find the Supreme Court justices who ruled corporations were "persons" which have the same right of free speech as citizens of the United States too "activist," or did they?
Talk about rewriting laws -- now, THAT's "activist."

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | October 13, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Remember Sodom and Gomorrah? I do...stand by for the fire from heaven. This judge is no judge...she is an immoral person promoting her own agenda, carefully selected for the law suit result desired by those who set aside the will of the people who have consistently voted this issue down in every state. This is an outrageous moment. I'm glad I'm retired from the Navy...I don't have to deal with this filth and my sons will never serve in a Navy with this as part of our honor code. Many good sailors, airmen and soldiers will resign, rather than deny their faith. I would if I was still on active duty. Honor, Courage and Commitment is over. The thought of same sex couples kissing in public on military facilities is repulsive to this honorable retired veteran.

God Help us...we have chosen to exalt sin on this day

Retired USN Wade C

Posted by: wcharnock | October 13, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

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