Political News

Biden taps 11 judicial nominees with historic diversity

Local High School Students Observe A Reenactment Of A Landmark Supreme Court Case At U.s. Court Of Appeals, On December 18 In Washington, Dc.
Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images


(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden announced Tuesday the nomination of a diverse group of eleven judicial nominees, several of whom he said would make history if confirmed to the bench.

“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 said in a statement.

One notable choice is U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to take the place of Attorney General Merrick Garland on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The pick signals that Jackson could be a contender to be the first African American woman to nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, which was one of Biden’s campaign pledges.

Jackson was nominated to the federal bench by former President Barack Obama in 2012. She attended Harvard Law School and has clerked for prominent judges, including Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Early in her career, Jackson served as a public defender in the District of Columbia, career experience some supporters have praised.

If confirmed, Biden’s nominees also include the first Muslim American to become a federal judge in U.S. history, the first Asian-American woman to serve on the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C., and the first woman of color to serve as a federal judge for the District of Maryland, according to the White House press release.

Shortly after the president unveiled his nominees, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer released a statement saying that the Senate will work “quickly to confirm” them.

“America is so much better when our rich diversity is reflected in every aspect of society, especially our justice system,” Schumer said.

“These nominees consist of attorneys who have excelled in the legal field in a wide range of positions, including as renowned jurists, public defenders, prosecutors, in the private sector, in the military, and as public servants at all levels of government,” Biden said in his statement.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also touted the group during a press briefing Tuesday.

“This is also a groundbreaking slate in many ways. It includes four nominees who have served as public defenders, four who are members of the [Asian-America Pacific Islander] community, a nominee who, if confirmed, would be the first Muslim American federal judge in history,” Psaki said. “Nine of the 11 nominees are women, and overall, this groups represents a paradigm shift in the type of people who can see themselves on the federal bench, while still maintaining the president’s absolute highest standards for the qualifications, integrity, and fairness of each individual being considered.”

Here is the full list of Biden’s picks:

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is nominated for the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Jackson currently serves as a judge for the District of Columbia U.S. District Court. She attended Harvard Law School, has clerked for prominent judges and served as a a public defender.

Tiffany Cunningham is nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Cunningham is a patent attorney who serves as partner at Perkins Coie, L.L.P in Chicago, Ill.

Candace Jackson-Akiwumi is nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Jackson-Akiwumi a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder, L.L.P. in Washington, D.C. who focuses “complex civil litigation, white collar criminal defense, and investigations,” according to the White House press release.

Judge Deborah Boardman is nominated for the U.S. District Court for Maryland. Boardman serves as a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for Maryland.

Judge Lydia Griggsby is nominated for the U.S. District Court for Maryland. Griggsby serves as a judge on the U.S. Federal Claims Court. Griggsby previously worked in the Senate, including in the office of Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics.

Julien Neals is nominated for the U.S. District Court for New Jersey. Neals currently serves as the county counsel and acting administrator for Bergen County, New Jersey. Neals has also held positions in the Newark, New Jersey city government.

Judge Florence Pan is nominated for the U.S. District Court for D.C. Pan currently serves as an associate judge on the D.C. Superior Court. Previously, Pan worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in D.C.

Judge Zahid Quraishi, a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, as the nominee for the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.

Regina Rodriguez is nominated for the U.S. District Court for Colorado. Rodriguez currently is a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, L.L.P. in Denver, Colo., where she, “handles cases involving complex litigation and government investigations,” according to the release.

Margaret Strickland is nominated for the U.S. District Court for New Mexico.Strickland is a partner at McGraw & Strickland, L.L.C. in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she represents clients in “civil rights cases and criminal cases,” according to the release.

Judge Rupa Ranga Puttagunta is nominated for for the D.C. Superior Court. Ranga Puttagunta serves as an administrative judge for the D.C. Rental Housing Commission. Previously, Ranga Puttagunta represented “indigent criminal defendants,” according to the release.

ABC News’ Molly Nagle and Allison Pecorin contributed to this report.

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