Judge Phyllis Hamilton, Northern California U.S. District Court

Judge Phyllis Hamilton

Northern California U.S. District Court

Phyllis Jean Hamilton was born in June 1952 in Jacksonville, Illinois. She earned an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and received her Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University Law School.  She served as a deputy public defender in the California Office of the Public Defender for two years, and briefly served as a manager of EEO Programs for a private corporation.

Hamilton became an administrative judge for the San Francisco Regional Office of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, serving there for five years, before becoming a court commissioner for the Municipal Court, Oakland-Piedmont-Emeryville Judicial District. She held that position for six years, and then for nine years was a United States Magistrate Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

President Bill Clinton nominated her to a new seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. She was confirmed by the Senate and received her commission in May 2000. She has served as Chief Judge since December of 2014.

Judge Hamilton is married to Stephen O. Rowell.

In the News…

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton sided with a class-action lawsuit brought by prisoners who argued that they fit into the requirements laid out for recipients of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act stimulus, and ruled that the Internal Revenue Service must top withholding those checks from inmates in state and federal prisons.

In her decision, she wrote that the Trump Administration move to withhold checks “solely on the basis of their incarcerated status is arbitrary and capricious.”

Judge Hamilton gave the IRS a deadline of October 24 to reconsider its position on sending coronavirus relief payments to inmates whose checks have been withheld, intercepted, or returned, and those incarcerated people who didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 have until October 30 to file the paperwork to claim the money.

The administration is appealing the ruling.

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Judge Hamilton today? You can let her know at:

The Honorable Phyllis Hamilton
Northern California U.S. District Court
Oakland Courthouse
1301 Clay Street
Oakland, CA 94612


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