A. Wallace Tashima


A. Wallace Tashima
A. Wallace Tashima Circuit Judge.jpg
Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Assumed office
July 31, 2004
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
In office
January 4, 1996 – July 31, 2004
Appointed byBill Clinton
Preceded byArthur Alarcón
Succeeded byMilan Smith
Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California
In office
June 30, 1980 – January 8, 1996
Appointed byJimmy Carter
Preceded byWarren J. Ferguson
Succeeded byDean D. Pregerson
Personal details
Atsushi Wallace Tashima

(1934-06-24) June 24, 1934 (age 87)
Santa Maria, California, U.S.
Children3, including Chris Tashima
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationUniversity of California, Los Angeles (BA)
Harvard University (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Marine Corps
Years of service1953-1956

Atsushi Wallace Tashima (born June 24, 1934) is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and a former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. He is the third Asian American and first Japanese American to be appointed to a United States Court of Appeals.

Early life

Atsushi Wallace Tashima was born in 1934 in Santa Maria, California, to Yasutaro and Aya Tashima.[1] He is Nisei Japanese American. During World War II he was interned at the Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona, an internment camp for Japanese Americans.[2] After the war his family moved to Southern California. He lived in Boyle Heights, graduating from Roosevelt High School in East Los Angeles. From 1953 to 1956, Tashima served in the United States Marine Corps, and was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1958, and a Bachelor of Laws from the Harvard Law School in 1961.[3]


Upon graduation from law school, from 1962 to 1968, Tashima became the Deputy State Attorney General for the State of California. He then joined the Amstar Corporation as an attorney in its Spreckels Sugar Division (1968–1972) and then as the general attorney and vice president of Amstar from 1972 to 1977. Tashima returned to private practice in 1977, as a partner at Morrison & Foerster, in Los Angeles.[3]

Federal judicial service

Tashima was nominated by President Jimmy Carter on May 9, 1980, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Central District of California vacated by Judge Warren J. Ferguson. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 26, 1980, and received commission on June 30, 1980. His service terminated on January 8, 1996, due to elevation to the Ninth Circuit.[4]

Tashima was nominated by President Bill Clinton on April 6, 1995, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated by Judge Arthur Alarcón. He was confirmed by the Senate on January 2, 1996, and received commission on January 4, 1996. He assumed senior status on June 30, 2004.[4]

Notable cases

  • Donald Walden Jr. v. the State of Nevada: On December 23, 2019, Tashima ruled for workers that were not paid for overtime work. In the ruling, Tashima also ruled that a state waives its 11th amendment rights when taking the case to federal court.[5]
  • East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr, No. 19-16487 (9th Cir. Aug. 16, 2019): Judge Tashima partially dissented when the Ninth Circuit held 2-1 that Trump's asylum ban could take place in New Mexico and Texas but not California or Arizona. Tashima would have blocked the asylum ban in all 4 states.[6]
  • Flores v. Barr, No. 17-56297 (9th Cir. Aug. 15, 2019): Judge Tashima was in a 3-0 majority (with Marsha S. Berzon and William A. Fletcher) that ruled that detained migrant children must get sleep, soap, and clean water.[7]
  • the United States v. Neal Bain, No. 17-10107 (9th Cir. June 11, 2019): Writing for a unanimous panel, Judge Tashima overturned a conviction for armed bank robbery. He held that the defendant's inadvertent placement of a closed pocket knife on a bank counter did not constitute “armed” bank robbery because this action did not “put[] in jeopardy the life of any person by the use of a dangerous weapon,” which is a requirement for armed bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(d).[8]
  • On March 8, 2019, Tashima ruled that asylum seekers are entitled to habeas review and have the right to appeal their deportations.[9]
  • United States v. Evelyn Sineneng-Smith, No. 15-10614 (9th Cir. Dec. 4, 2018): Writing for a unanimous panel, Judge Tashima struck down a statute as unconstitutionally overbroad in violation of the First Amendment. The panel held that 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv)—which permits a felony prosecution of any person who “encourages or induces” an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States if the encourager knew, or recklessly disregarded the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law—was unconstitutional because it criminalizes a substantial amount of protected expression in relation to its narrow band of legitimately prohibited conduct and unprotected expression. Judge Tashima wrote, “At the very least, it is clear that the statute potentially criminalizes the simple words – spoken to a son,a wife, a parent, a friend, a neighbor, a coworker, a student, a client – ‘I encourage you to stay here.’” He also wrote that the statute appeared to apply to statements amounting to “pure advocacy on a hotly debated issue in our society.”[10]
  • González v. Douglas: While sitting by designation in the United States District Court of Arizona, Judge Tashima ruled that Arizona school officials were motivated by racial animus when they acted to shut down a Mexican-American studies program in Tucson's public schools.[11]

Personal life

Tashima is married and has three children and three grandchildren. He resides in Los Angeles. He is the father of Academy Award-winning filmmaker and actor Chris Tashima.[12]


  • Trial Jurist of the Year, Los Angeles County Bar Association (1995–96)[13]

See also


  1. ^ Judicial Conference of the United States. Bicentennial Committee (1978). Judges of the United States. The Committee : for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off. Retrieved 2015-07-03.
  2. ^ A. Wallace Tashima, retrieved 2019-06-24
  3. ^ a b "JA jurists profiled by JACL, Downtown LA Chapter". downtown-los-angeles-jacl.org. Retrieved 2015-07-03.
  4. ^ a b "Tashima, Atsushi Wallace - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
  5. ^ http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2019/12/23/18-15691.pdf
  6. ^ Josh Gerstein (Aug. 16, 2019). “Trump scores partial win on asylum ban as court narrows injunction”. “Politico”.
  7. ^ "Appeals Court Rules Detained Migrant Children Should Get Soap, Sleep, Clean Water". NPR.org. Retrieved Oct 18, 2020.
  8. ^ Julie Steinberg (June 11, 2019). “Placing Knife on Counter During Bank Robbery Not ‘Use’ of Weapon”. “Bloomberg Law”.
  9. ^ A. B. A. Journal. "In ruling with 'sweeping implications,' 9th Circuit rules asylum-seeker is entitled to habeas review". ABA Journal. Retrieved Oct 18, 2020.
  10. ^ Josh Gerstein (Dec. 4, 2018). “Federal appeals court rules against another immigration crackdown attempt”. “Politico”.
  11. ^ Maggie Astor (Aug. 23, 2017). "Tucson’s Mexican Studies Program Was a Victim of ‘Racial Animus,’ Judge Says". The New York Times.
  12. ^ "Conference review by Greg Robinson on IsThatLegal.org - 11/9/04". Archived from the original on 2008-03-17.
  13. ^ Tashima resume Archived August 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine on ISDLS website


Legal offices
Preceded by Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California
Succeeded by
Preceded by Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Succeeded by