United States District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston (JLT)

Federal Judicial Service:

U. S. District Court, Eastern District of California

Nominated by Joseph R. Biden on September 12, 2021 to a seat vacated by the Hon. Lawrence J. O'Neill. Confirmed by the Senate on December 17, 2021, and received commission on December 27, 2021.

United States Magistrate Judge, appointed December 31, 2009



California State University, Bakersfield, B.S. Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing, 1989

California Pacific School of Law, J.D., 1997

Duke University, Master of Laws, 2018


Professional Career:

Deputy County Counsel, Office of the Kern County Counsel, Bakersfield, CA

Judge Pro Tem, Kern County Superior Court , Bakersfield, CA



District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston was appointed to the bench of the Eastern District of California in 2009, as a magistrate judge. She worked in this position until 2021 when she was appointed to her current position.

Since this time, she has presided over countless bench and jury trials, while managing scores of civil cases, social security appeals, habeas corpus petitions, and prisoner civil rights actions.

Before her appointment to the bench, Judge Thurston was an active litigator and handled a large variety of cases including civil rights cases, wrongful death actions, elections law challenges and employment disputes and other areas of practice. She practiced actively in the federal and state courts and in administrative law proceedings.

Judge Thurston became a Certified Appellate Specialist in 2005 and handled more than 100 appeals and writs in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Fifth District Court of Appeal, and the California Supreme Court. Judge Thurston served on the Appellate Law Specialization Committee to the California State Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization and helped to refine specialization standards, to evaluate prospective specialists and to draft and grade specialization examinations.

In addition to her role as a District Judge, she is the ADR Judge for the Fresno Division of the Eastern District of California and a member of the District’s Technology User Group, the Courthouse Security Committee, and the Court’s Budget Committee. Before her appointment to her current position, she was the Court’s Chief Magistrate Judge and served on the Ninth Circuit’s Magistrate Judge Executive Board, the Technology Subcommittee of the Ninth Circuit Magistrate Judge Executive Board, a Board Member on the Federal Magistrate Judge Association, and the Editor of the FMJA’s electronic magazine, The Bulletin. In 2019, Chief Judge of the United States Supreme Court John G. Roberts, appointed her to serve on the U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on the Judicial Branch.

Judge Thurston is a graduate of Duke University, where she earned a Master of Laws, California Pacific School of Law, where she earned a Juris Doctorate and CSU, Bakersfield, where her B.S. in Business Administration was awarded cum laude. She brings a unique and practical approach to her work.