Press Releases


Congressman Peters Introduces Bipartisan James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep Federal Courthouse Naming Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52), continuing Congresswoman Susan Davis’ efforts, introduced a bipartisan bill to name a new federal courthouse in San Diego after judges James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep, who were trailblazers in their field. 

The James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep Federal Courthouse Naming Bill has the support of Congresswoman Susan Davis, Congressman Duncan Hunter, Mayor Bob Filner, former Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders , the San Diego City Council, the San Diego County Bar Association, and both  Republican and Democratic community leaders across San Diego.

“Today, I am proud to introduce the bipartisan James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep Federal Courthouse Naming Bill,” said Peters. “Judges Carter and Keep were dedicated to public service in their professional and personal lives. I cannot think of a better way to pay tribute to their work and altruistic spirit, than naming this courthouse after them.”

 "When the question was presented to San Diego's legal community, the overwhelming consensus was that the names of Judge Carter and Judge Keep should grace the new downtown courthouse," said Congresswoman Susan Davis. "They were trailblazers in their field and contributed so much to the community."

Judge James M. Carter led the movement to create the Southern District of California. In response to tremendous population growth in San Diego after WWII, Carter convinced the Judicial Conference of the United States to support the creation of the Southern District. After its creation, Carter became the first Chief Judge of the District Court of the Southern District of California. Later, Carter was appointed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Carter founded the Federal Defenders of San Diego, and he was key in the creation of the University of San Diego School of Law.

Judge Judith N. Keep was a trailblazer for women in San Diego’s legal field. Keep graduated valedictorian from the University of San Diego School of Law, at a time when fewer than 5 percent of lawyers were women. Keep then worked as a staff attorney at Defenders, Inc. where she was the first female attorney to represent indigent criminal defendants in federal court. In 1980, Keep was nominated to become the first female District Court Judge for California’s Southern District, and later she became the District Court’s first female Chief Judge. Keep was chair of both the Task Force on Judicial Wellness and the Conference of Chief District Judges for the Ninth Circuit, and worked closely with the San Diego Community Foundation and Armed Forces YMCA.  

Both Judge Keep and Judge Carter served as role models and mentors to countless young attorneys and judges in San Diego.