With Cantwell’s Support, Senate Confirms Yakima Valley Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr., for Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Salvador Mendoza, Jr., President Biden’s nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and a Yakima Valley native, was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 46-40. Prior to the vote, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) spoke on the floor of the Senate in support of his nomination.

“This is a historic moment. If confirmed, Judge Mendoza would be the first Hispanic judge to serve on the Ninth Circuit from Washington,” said Sen. Cantwell. “He has been an outstanding judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington where he has served since 2014…I know Judge Mendoza will make an excellent addition to the Ninth Circuit Court.”

Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr., was raised in the Yakima Valley by his parents, immigrants from Mexico who worked as farmworkers. As a teenager, Judge Mendoza worked mornings in the fields alongside them before hurrying to school. He graduated from Prosser High School in 1990, then went on to earn a Bachelor's Degree at the University of Washington and law degree from the University of California – Los Angeles.

Beginning in 2002, Judge Mendoza served as a Judge Pro Tem in Benton and Franklin counties, where he helped create the region's first drug courts for juveniles. In 2013, Washington Governor Jay Inslee appointed Judge Mendoza to serve on the Superior Court for Benton and Franklin Counties.

In 2014, Judge Mendoza became the first Hispanic federal judge ever to serve in Eastern Washington when he became U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Washington. When Judge Mendoza joins the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, he will be the first Hispanic judge from the State Washington ever to serve on that court.

In 2016, Columbia Basin College named Judge Mendoza as the Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit Award winner. The award, given annually, honors those who influence positive social change and display characteristics of Dr. King’s vision.

Video of Senator Cantwell’s floor remarks is available HERE, audio HERE

A full transcript of Senator Cantwell’s remarks is available HERE.