Judge Fernando L. Aenlle-Rocha worked as a federal prosecutor for almost about 10 years and practiced white collar defense at a number of firms–including White & Case–between 2005-2017 until being appointed to the state trial court by a decisive vote of 80-8. The judge is only the fifth Trump appointee confirmed to California’s federal district courts due to the lack of cooperation between the White House and California’s Democratic senators.
Born in Cuba, Judge Aenlle-Rocha went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, garnering a top rating from American Bar Association.
T. Michael Dietz, CohnReznick LLP associate counsel, won confirmation to the claims court on a 51-36 vote Saturday with 11 members of the Democratic caucus joining Republicans in support. However, In contrast to Aenlle-Rocha, Dietz drew Democratic skepticism regarding his lack of experience in the courtroom. In a September confirmation hearing, Dietz admitted that he has never appeared in court or been admitted to practice in any court since graduating law school in 2005.
Instead, the Tulane Law School grad worked as in-house counsel for corporate clients on legal and regulatory compliance work. Before joining CohnReznick in 2012, Dietz was a senior contracts representative with defense contractor General Dynamics Land Systems Inc. for five years. “I think that my 15 years in federal contracting work is why I was selected,” Dietz said during his confirmation hearing.
Like Aenlle-Rocha, Dietz is also a Trump appointee. Senate consideration of Trump nominees after the president lost reelection breaks with recent precedent set during the end of the Obama administration in 2016, when the GOP-led Senate did not vote to confirm any of President Barack Obama’s nominees.