James S. Ware (born 1946) is the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, California.
Early life and education
Federal judicial service
Ware was nominated to his current U.S. District Court seat on August 3, 1990 by President George H. W. Bush and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on September 28, 1990. He received his commission on October 1, 1990. He became Chief Judge of the Northern District of California on January 1, 2011, when Vaughn Walker stepped down.
Failed nomination to the Ninth Circuit
On June 27, 1997, President Bill Clinton nominated Ware to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, to replace J. Clifford Wallace, who had taken senior status. Ware had a hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in October 1997.
However, Ware's nomination unraveled amid an embarrassing scandal that ultimately resulted in a judicial reprimand, and Clinton withdrew his nomination of Ware on November 27, 1997. In 1998, Judge Ware was reprimanded by the Judicial Council of the Northern District Court of California for fabricating the story of being the brother of Virgil Ware, a 13 year old black boy shot by teenage racists in Alabama in 1963 on the same day as the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. According to a story Judge Ware had told many audiences, he was riding his bike with his brother Virgil on the handlebars when Virgil was shot and killed by white racists. The incident was a real one, however it happened to a different James Ware, as was discovered when Judge Ware's claim was published in the Alabama papers after he was nominated to the Ninth Circuit by President Bill Clinton. The father of the long-ago slain boy contacted the Alabama courts to report that the California judge was impersonating his own son James Ware who was an employee in a Birmingham power plant. The Alabama courts contacted the California courts, who convened the ethics hearing. Judge Ware was reprimanded but allowed to retain his lifetime appointment as district judge.
In 1998, Clinton appointed Kim McLane Wardlaw to the seat to which Ware had been nominated.
Ware is known for hearing a number of Internet business-related cases such as the sex.com ownership case and RealNetworks vs. Microsoft suit. In 2006, he heard the Google search terms suit. He ruled that search engine company Google.com must turn over bulk data related to searches, in response to a government order designed to bolster support for an anti-pornography law that has already been ruled unconstitutional. In September 2009, he ruled that Google must provide the identity and contact information for a Gmail user that was mistakenly sent confidential information by the Rocky Mountain Bank. He also ordered Google to deactivate the Gmail account.
Notes and references
- Judge James Ware @ Federal Judicial Center
- the Clinton Presidential Center Web Site Online Archives
- Daily Digest Friday, November 7, 1997
- The Legacy of Virgil Ware
- The Infamous Ninth
- Judge Ware Reprimanded by his Peers. There were many federal judges who felt Ware should have been impeached.
- Court date set for Google lawsuit
- Google Judge’s questionable past
- Judge Orders Google To Deactivate User's Gmail Account
- A 'White Hat' Goes to Jail