Biden names diverse slate of judicial nominees in first effort to reshape federal courts

Rebecca Shabad
U.S. President Joe Biden waves while boarding Air Force One as he departs Washington for travel to Wilmington, Delaware at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, March 26, 2021.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced plans to name a diverse group of judicial nominees to the federal courts in his first efforts to have the federal bench "reflect the full diversity of the American people — both in background and in professional experience," the White House said.

The group includes three Black women nominees for circuit court openings, the first Asian American woman for the district court in Washington D.C., and the first woman of color for the district court in Maryland.

The slate of 11 nominees, which includes nine women, "draws from the very best and brightest minds of the American legal profession," Biden said in a statement announcing the nominees. "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."

The White House release said the nominees come from a wide array of legal backgrounds, including prosecutors, public defenders, jurists and those who who served in the military and in the private sector.

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Among the appointees is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, whom Biden will nominate to serve on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, who would fill the vacancy left by Attorney General Merrick Garland. Since 2013, she has served on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and previously was vice chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Brown Jackson has been considered for months for the job, which some observers speculate could put her in position for a future appointment to the Supreme Court.

The president also nominated Judge Florence Y. Pan for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first Asian American woman to serve on that court.