Chief Judge Kimberly J. Mueller, Eastern California U.S. District Court

Chief Judge Kimberly J. Mueller 

Eastern California U.S. District Court

Kimberly Jo Mueller was born in September 1957 in Newton, Kansas. She earned an undergraduate degree from Pomona College and received her Juris Doctor from Stanford University. She served as a legislative aide for a California State Assembly member. 

Mueller was elected to the Sacramento City Council, where she served 15 years. For a period she was the vice-mayor. She engaged in the private practice of law. 

She was appointed as a U.S. Magistrate Judge of the Sacramento Division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. She is an adjunct professor at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. 

Mueller was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of California U.S. District Court. Her nomination was unanimously confirmed by the Senate and she received her commission in December 2010. She became Chief Judge on January 1, 2020. 

In the News…

A federal court has ruled that three California churches do not have to pay for elective abortions in their health insurance plans, after an eight-year-long legal case against the state. 

The churches filed a motion in April asking the court to definitively rule in their favor and allow the churches to operate according to their religious beliefs that uphold the sanctity of unborn lives. 

U.S. District Chief Judge Kimberly Mueller of the Eastern District of California in Sacramento ruled that the California Department of Managed Health Care mandate against the churches is unconstitutional. In a 22-page decision, she ruled that the state agency infringed on the churches’ First Amendment rights by denying their request for exemption to the abortions being added to their insurance plans. She also directly criticized the department’s director. 

“In sum, the Director has not shown [she] lacks other means of achieving [her] desired goal without imposing a substantial burden on the exercise of religion by [plaintiffs],” the judge wrote. “The Director’s denial of the Churches’ request for exceptions to accommodate their religious beliefs, based solely on the fact that those requests did not originate with a plan, was not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest.” 

“Even assuming similar religious challenges materialized in California in large numbers, the Director has not offered evidence showing that entertaining these religious objections would be so difficult and time-consuming that DMHC’s operations would grind to a halt,” Judge Mueller added.  

The judge directed the churches and the state to file briefs on the remedies and scope of injunctive relief sought within 30 days.  

Contact this Leader…

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

The Honorable Kimberly J. Mueller 
Eastern California U.S. District Court 
Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse 
501 I Street 
Sacramento, CA 95814 


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