Republican, Theodore Howard Judge of the Orange County Superior Court was appointed in 2010 as Superior Court Judge by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger filling a vacancy created by retired Judge Daniel Didier. He was automatically re-elected as he ran as an unopposed incumbent in 2012.
Judge Howard earned his undergraduate degree in 1964 from St. John’s Seminary College and in 1968 earned a J.D. from Loyola of Los Angeles Law School.
After graduating from law school, Howard worked as an associate attorney for Boyle Ateill and Stearns, then at Kinkle, Rodiger, Graf, Dewberry, and Spriggs. He then moved on as a partner at Parker, Stanbury, McGee, Babcock and Combs and then Howard, Moss, Loveder and Stickroth.
Judge Howard was presented the Judge George Francis Award for civility and professionalism.
He was awarded Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating for a sitting judge of “AV.”
Notable Court Cases
In 2016, Judge Howard ruled on a property rights case which likely impacted all property owners on California’s coastal areas. In this case, a San Clemente family applied for a permit to replace their existing mobile home with an almost identical but slightly smaller mobile home, but the California Coastal Commission stated the family could only do so if they waived their rights to no longer maintain, repair, or replace the seawall which protects their property. Judge Howard ruled against California Coastal Commission stating that the Commission’s waiver was unreasonable, too broad, and contradicted a U.S. Supreme Court precedent. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the government cannot demand or require that owners give up their property rights in exchange for permits. California law also states that property owners have the right to protect their property from natural causes. The Coastal Commission could not prevent property owners from repairing a sea wall. This case was a significant victory for California property owners.