Nice Time! More Biden Judges!
We've said it before and we'll say it again: Joe Biden is good at picking judges!
Today, Joe Biden announced his fifth round of judicial picks. As the White House announcement notes, the Biden administration is moving "at an historic pace with respect to judicial nominees." And thank Frigg they are!
Confirming as many judges as possible, as fast as possible, is one of the most important things Democrats can do to try to save our country. And, to their credit, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, and Sente Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin have done a pretty great job so far! Biden has nominated 32 federal judges and the Senate has already confirmed seven judges, with two more nominations moving.
The last president to have seven judicial confirmations by this point in his presidency was Richard Nixon in 1969. By this point in Trump's presidency, had successfully appointed two federal judges. Obama, W, and Clinton had confirmed zero.
Biden is also the first president to put an emphasis on increasing the diversity of backgrounds in federal judges, nominating lawyers in fields that are typically overlooked in federal appointments, like public defenders, civil rights lawyers, and plaintiffs' attorneys.
The Biden administration is proud of this emphasis and reminded us of it in today's announcement:
These choices also continue to fulfill the President's promise to ensure that the nation's courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country — both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds.
This round of judges includes four nominees to federal appellate courts (including two to circuit courts), four to federal trial courts, and one for the Superior Court of DC.
Our two appellate nominees are Jennifer Sung and Toby Heytens. If Jennifer Sung is confirmed, she will join the Ninth Circuit, which is by far the biggest of our 13 circuit courts of appeals. She's a former labor lawyer and former union organizer. She's also a Brennan Center alum, adding some much-needed voting rights expertise to the bench. Our other circuit court nominee, Toby Heytens, was nominated to the Virginia-based Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Heytens has a lot of fancy credentials: He's Virginia's solicitor general, was a professor at UVA law, worked in the Solicitor General's office at the DOJ ... but by far my favorite thing about him is that he clerked for the late, great RBG.
The other new nominees in this round are:
- Judge Jan Beckering, currently serving on the Michigan Court of Appeals, to the Western District of Michigan
- Patricia Tolliver Giles, a federal prosecutor, to the Eastern District of Virginia
- Judge Shalina Kumar, Chief Judge on the Oakland County Sixth Circuit Court, to the Eastern District of Michigan
- Judge Michael Nachmanoff, currently a Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia and a former federal public defender, promoted to District Judge in his district
- Armando Bonilla, VP of Ethics and Investigations at Capital One to the Court of Federal Claims.
- Carolyn Lerner, currently Chief Circuit Mediator for the US Courts of the DC Circuit, to the Court of Federal Claims, and
- Sean Staples, currently a Magistrate Judge assigned to the Criminal and Domestic Violence Divisions on DC Superior Court, to a trial judge position on the DC Superior Court.
Like the White House touts, this crop of judges includes:
- The first judge of South Asian descent in Michigan, who also happens to be a woman
- The first AAPI Oregonian on the Ninth Circuit
- The second WOC to ever serve on the federal bench in Virginia, and
- The first Hispanic judge on the Court of Federal Claims.
It's great to finally see Democrats holding the presidency and Senate, finally united in putting butts in seats. Under Obama, Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy decided it would be fun to let Republicans stop Obama's nominees despite not holding the Senate. And Chuck Schumer let him!
Now, those days are gone — hopefully forever.
Great! Now let's keep at it.
[ White House ]