Senate Confirms President Biden’s 40th Federal Justice

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Courtesy of Gage Skidmore (Flickr CC0)

Joe Biden entered his presidency with an aggressive agenda. One of his high-priority goals was to fill federal judiciary vacancies. The political milestone was reached as Senate Democrats confirmed his 40th nominee in an early Saturday morning vote before adjourning for holidays.

They will serve lifetime appointments on the federal appellate courts, explained Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a statement.

These judges will bring sorely-needed diversity to the judiciary: not just demographic diversity, but also professional diversity, adding to the breadth and width and depth of knowledge possessed by the courts.

When former President Donald Trump left office he had appointed 226 federal justices; three of whom are on the Supreme Court. Even with the pace of nominee confirmations, and even if Democrats remain in control of Congress for Biden’s entire presidency, his contribution to the federal judicial system will not match Trump’s impact. Nonetheless, America needs judges who will serve the people fairly.

Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain and White House Counsel Dana Remus are diligently focused on accelerating the president’s efforts to appoint as many federal justices as possible. They are working alongside the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, their focus goes beyond speed, the Biden administration is intent on adding much-needed diversity to the courts.

Courtesy of Gage Skidmore (Flickr CC0)

Moreover, the team is working to overcome the historical path toward a judgeship that can be over-representative of prosecutors or law-firm lawyers. So, they are also talking to people expressing interest in becoming a judge “including civil rights litigators, public defenders or might have taken other nontraditional paths toward being a judge,” according to a senior administration official.

In keeping with the Biden Administration’s goal to deliver bold action to advance civil rights and racial equality, 30 of the appointees are women. The Senate confirmed several firsts to the federal circuit courts: an LGBTQ woman, a Korean American woman, a Black woman, a first-generation Cuban American woman, a Muslim American, and more.

The last president who appointed 40 judges during his first year at the White House was Ronald Reagan, however, only three of his confirmations were women.

When the Senate reconvenes on Jan. 3, 2022, the committee will proceed to the confirmation vote for Gabriel Sanchez.

President Biden announced nine new federal judicial candidates earlier this week. This marks his 11th round of nominations.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware


The Hill: Senate confirms 40 judges during Biden’s first year in office, the most since Reagan; by Caroline Vakil
Axios: Biden reaches Reagan record with 40th judge confirmed
The New York Times: Senate Confirms Biden’s 40th Judge, Tying a Reagan-Era Record; by Catie Edmondson
The Washington Post: Trump’s conservative imprint on the federal judiciary gives Democrats a playbook — if they win; by Seung Min Kim

Images Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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