By Darlene Superville and Jessica Gresko
President Joe Biden nominated a racially diverse and predominantly female group for federal and other judicial posts Tuesday, including three black women for the U.S. appeals courts, a path to the Supreme Court.
Announcing his first list of nominees for Justice, Biden signaled his intention to counter his predecessor’s trust in white men to fill openings at the Bundesbank and to appoint judges with a wider range of background and life experiences in the role bring in.
Several of Biden’s nominees served as public defenders. One is a former military attorney. Nine of the eleven are women. The list also includes a candidate for the District of Columbia Supreme Court.
Biden’s group includes candidates who, if approved by the U.S. Senate for life federal appointments, would be the first Muslim federal judge in U.S. history, the first Asian-American Pacific Islander to serve in the U.S. District Court for the Columbia District is, and the first woman of color to serve as a federal judge for the District of Maryland.
Three of the picks are black women Biden wants for the federal appeals courts, often a stepping stone to the Supreme Court. The most prominent of the trio is U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, whom Biden has nominated to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit after Judge Merrick Garland left as Attorney General.
The other two black women Biden wants on appeal are Tiffany Cunningham, 44, of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington and Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, 41, of the 7th Court of Appeals in Chicago. Both are in private practice.
The DC Circuit, in particular, is a place where presidents have been looking for Supreme Court judges. Three of the current nine members of the High Court have served on the DC Circuit.
Some Liberal Democrats have asked 82-year-old Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to step down so Biden can choose a possible replacement. Jackson, 50, is a graduate of Harvard Law School and previously worked as a court clerk at Breyer.
Other black women who would be front-runners if a US Supreme Court seat were opened include California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and US District Judge Michelle Childs. Childs is a favorite of Rep. James Clyburn, DS.C., who was instrumental in backing Biden shortly before the state’s presidential primary last year.
Some of Biden’s candidates had been tapped for judicial posts by Democratic President Barack Obama, but Republicans never allowed the entire Senate to vote on them.
“This seminal list of nominees comes from the best and brightest in the American legal profession,” said Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a statement impartial to the American people – and together they represent a wide variety of backgrounds, experience and backgrounds Perspective that makes our nation strong. “
The White House said Biden’s decisions reflect his firm belief that federal courts should reflect the “full diversity of the American people.”
Administrative officials stressed the speed with which Biden announced his first candidates and stressed that the president was out of the gate faster than his immediate predecessors by name. There are good reasons for Biden to move fast on this front.
There are currently 72 judicial openings. The Senate, which must approve the nominees, is split 50-50, and Vice President Kamala Harris is being asked to break some tie. Biden would need the Democratic caucus to stand together in support of his candidates if Republicans unite in opposition, though the government hopes to win GOP support for some if not all of the candidates.
There is no guarantee that Democrats will hold a majority after the 2022 midterm election, which means that White House and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., has to be aggressive when it comes to putting candidates up Similar Ways to Pushing Trump and Trump through Confirmation Former Senate Chairman Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., did so to confirm the former President’s nominations.
Schumer and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Said the Senate would work quickly to hold hearings and uphold Biden’s decisions.
“America is so much better when our rich diversity is reflected in all aspects of society, especially in our judicial system,” said Schumer.
Trump relied heavily on white men to fill vacancies in the judiciary. An Associated Press analysis found that over 86% of the more than 200 federal judges confirmed under Trump were white, the highest rate of white judge appointments since the presidency of George HW Bush.
Two-thirds of Trump’s law enforcement officers were white men; less than a quarter were women.
Overall, around a third of active federal judges are women, and Biden’s appointment of three black women to federal appeals courts is of particular importance.
Currently, of the approximately 170 active judges in federal appeals courts, only four are African American women, and all are 68 years or older, according to a database from the Federal Judicial Center.
Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director of the NAACP Legal Protection and Education Fund, said the organization was “pleased” that Biden was taking steps to diversify the Bundesbank.
“This diversity will greatly improve judicial and judicial decision-making,” Ifill said in a statement.