J. Clifford Wallace

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Judge J. Clifford Wallace receiving the Bolch Prize on March 18, 2022. Courtesy Alan Gibby for Church News

John Clifford Wallace is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He assumed office on April 8, 1996. He was Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from January 31, 1991, to April 8, 1996.

He has advised judiciaries in more than 70 countries and was selected to receive the 2022 Susan and Carl Bolch Jr. Prize for the Rule of Law. He was honored during a ceremony in San Diego on March 18, 2022.[1]

On November 5, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Courts recognized Chief Judge Emeritus Wallace for his 50-year judicial career with an exclusive article published on the United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit website.

In 2005, he received the Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award.

In the early 1980s, at the invitation of then-Chief Justice Warren Burger, Wallace helped create the American Inns of Court.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has said of him, “His scholarship and dedication to the rule of law has been important for the Ninth Circuit, for the judges and attorneys in that circuit, and for the rest of the judges in the United States, but also, and this is unique, he has inspired those who love the rule of law around the world.”[2]

Wallace was nominated by U.S. president Richard M. Nixon to serve as Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and confirmed by the Senate on June 28, 1972. He had previously served as Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California from October 16, 1970, to July 14, 1972.

Wallace was born on December 11, 1928, in San Diego, California. He earned his bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He was in private practice in San Diego from 1955 to 1970.

He also served in the U.S. Navy from 1946 to 1949.

Wallace is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.