Vaughn R Walker served as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of California from 1990 to 2011; he was chief judge of that court from 2004 to 2011.
He graduated from the University of Michigan (1966) and Stanford Law School (1970). After clerking for Judge Robert J Kelleher of the United States District Court in Los Angeles (1971–72), he practiced in San Francisco at Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, until becoming a judge.
Judge Walker was named to the bench by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush and was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 21, 1989, on unanimous consent.
Judge Walker presided over a number of notable lawsuits. These include Apple Computer, Inc v Microsoft Corporation, involving the copyrights to the graphical user features of the computer desktop; United States v Oracle Corporation, involving the acquisition of PeopleSoft Corporation; In re Terrorist Surveillance Cases, involving federal government wiretapping for national security purposes; and numerous patent, antitrust, securities and other complex business disputes.
Judge Walker retired from the bench at the end of February 2011 and established a mediation-arbitration practice in San Francisco to which he now devotes most of his time. He also taught at the Berkeley School of Law, University of California, and Stanford Law School. He served for many years as a director, and one year as chair, of the Saint Francis Foundation, which supports healthcare in San Francisco through an affiliation with Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, and serves on the boards of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Center for United States and Mexican Law at the University of Houston.