Biden Announces Diverse Slate Of Judicial Nominees
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced his first slate of federal judicial nominees. Among the diverse group of nominees is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who, if appointed, would fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Merrick Garland on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, considered to be the second most powerful court in the country after the Supreme Court. She is often spoken of as potential Biden pick for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Besides Jackson, many of Biden’s 11 judicial nominees are women and/or people of color. For instance, he is nominating Judge Florence Y. Pan, associate judge on the Superior Court for D.C., to serve on the U.S. district court for D.C.; Tiffany Cunningham, partner at law firm Perkins Coie, to serve on U.S. court of appeals of the federal circuit; and Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, public defender in Illinois, to serve on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Biden is also nominating Julien Neals, county counsel for Bergen County, N.J., to serve on U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Neals was previously nominated by former President Barack Obama in 2015; however, his nomination was derailed by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).
Biden is also nominating: Judge Deborah Boardman for the U.S. District Court of the District of Maryland; Judge Lydia Griggsby for the U.S. District Court of the District of Maryland; Judge Zahid N. Quraishi for the U.S. District Court of the District of New Jersey; Regina Rodriguez for the U.S. District Court of the District of Colorado; Margaret Strickland for the U.S. District Court of the District of New Mexico; and Judge Rupa Ranga Puttagunta for the D.C. superior court.
In a statement about this group of nominees, Biden stated: “This trailblazing slate of nominees draws from the very best and brightest minds of the American legal profession. Each is deeply qualified and prepared to deliver justice faithfully under our Constitution and impartially to the American people – and together they represent the broad diversity of background, experience, and perspective that makes our nation strong.”
Biden’s diverse slate of judicial nominees will certainly differentiate his picks from those of former President Donald Trump, whose nominees were, for the most part, white and male.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, also commented on Biden’s “commitment to highest standards for the qualifications, integrity, and fairness – while also representing a paradigm shift in the types of people who can see themselves on the federal bench.”
Of the nominees, four are former public defenders, four are Asian American/Pacific Islanders, and one (Quraishi) might just make history as the first Muslim-American federal judge.
Nan Aron, the president of the group Alliance for Justice, also commended Biden’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion in a statement: “We commend President Biden for nominating stellar lawyers to serve on our nation’s federal courts. Today’s nominees embody the demographic and professional diversity and forward-thinking that will ensure justice is served to the American people when they enter a courtroom.”
Brian Fallon, the executive director of Demand Justice, commented in a statement on the slate of nominees, while also alluding to possible opposition from progressives against Rodriguez. “Ideally all the nominees in this first wave would come from these kinds of underrepresented professional backgrounds,” Fallon said. “But old habits die hard for some senators who are used to recommending corporate lawyers and prosecutors for federal judgeships. We know Biden’s stated preference for civil rights lawyers and labor lawyers for district courts is only as good as the buy-in it generates among home-state senators. This means progressives need to double down on pressuring these senators, and that is what we intend to do in the months ahead.”
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