Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance

Passing of the Honorable Manuel L. Real

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The United States District Court for the Central District of California mourns the loss of Senior District Judge Manuel L. Real, who passed away on June 26, 2019 at the age of 95. 

Judge Real was one of the first District Judges appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the Central District of California in 1966.  Before assuming senior status on November 4, 2018, Judge Real was the longest serving active District Judge in the United States and in modern history in the United States, having served fifty years as an active District Judge.  Judge Real served as the Chief Judge of the Central District from 1982 to 1993.  Under his leadership and in large part thanks to his dedication and key support, Congress created the Southern and Eastern Divisions of the Court in 1980 and 1992, respectively.  During his tenure at the Central District, Judge Real also lent his considerable assistance to understaffed courts throughout the country and served as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 1981 to 1984.  In one of his most well-known cases, on January 20, 1970, Judge Real ordered the desegregation of the Pasadena Unified School District and enjoined the school district from discriminating on the basis of race. 

Judge Real received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1944 from the University of Southern California and his Bachelor of Laws degree from Loyola Law School in 1951.  He served in the United States Navy Reserve during World War II from 1943 to 1945.  Following graduation from law school, Judge Real served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of California from 1952 to 1955, and was in private practice until 1964.  He then served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California from 1964 to 1966.     

President Johnson nominated Judge Real to be a United States District Judge for the then-newly-created Central District of California on September 26, 1966.  Judge Real was confirmed by the Senate on October 20, 1966 and received his commission on November 3, 1966.   

Upon learning of Judge Real’s death, Chief Judge Virginia A. Phillips said the following: “I am sad beyond words at the death of our beloved friend, colleague, mentor and leader.  Judge Real has been the heart and soul of our district since it was formed in 1966, and his passing leaves an unfillable void for us, his family, the legal world and the larger community.  His legacy of public service is an inspiration beyond compare.”

In honor of Judge Real, the flags outside the courthouses of the United States District Court for the Central District of California will be flown at half-mast.