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Margaret McKeown Will Lead|Federal Judges Association

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Ninth Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown took office Wednesday as president of the Federal Judges Association.

McKeown, whose chambers are in San Diego, took over the 2-year post from U.S. District Judge W. Royal Furgeson Jr., of Dallas.

The Federal Judges Association is a volunteer group of nearly 1,000 judges, dedicated to preserving the independence of the judiciary.

"The association recently warned that the current sequestration measures imposed on the federal government have put judicial branch services at risk," the 9th Circuit said in a statement announcing McKeown's assumption of the presidency. "Courtroom operations, public information services, representation by federal defenders and staffing of pretrial and probation services have all been negatively affected. The group has also sought to draw attention to judicial vacancies, which currently number almost 10 percent of the 874 seats on federal district and circuit courts."

McKeown, who was appointed by President Clinton, has served on the 9th Circuit since 1998. Before that, she worked for Perkins Coie in Seattle and Washington, and was a White House Fellow. She got her bachelor's degree from the University of Wyoming in 1972 and her J.D. from Georgetown University in 1975.

She recently was chairwoman of the Codes of Conduct Committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference, and is chairwoman of the American Bar Association's Rule of Law Council on Latin America.

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