Who is the only federal judge to have played basketball in the Olympics for Cuba? Who is the only federal judge known for driving around town in a 1960s-era convertable Rolls Royce? Who is the only federal judge who was nearly deported?

The answer is an n of 1, as statisticians would say: Judge Carlos T. Bea of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, who the Los Angeles Daily Journal was correct to call “the most interesting judge on the 9th Circuit.” Born in San Sebastian, Spain in 1934, his family left Spain for North America after the Spanish Civil War and on the eve of World War II. And the story only gets more interesting from there.

Judge Bea recently took senior status on the 9th Circuit, and the San Francisco chapter of the Federalist Society decided to throw a reception and celebration of his long and distinguished career in the law, inviting me to serve as an interlocutor with Judge Bea for a conversation that covers the highlight of his colorful life story along with his views on jurisprudence. He also supplies lessons on how to survive and prosper as a Republican in San Francisco.

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  1. WilliamWarford Coolidge

    Interesting interview with a great man. Thank you. 

    The Burtons and Willie Brown could befriend people from the other side of the aisle. I remember writing about the friendship of John Burton and Pete Knight, of Proposition 22 fame. (The law stating that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized passed with 61.4% of the vote in 2000; hard to imagine now.)

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