Courts On the Hill

Biden Announced First Judicial Picks

On Tuesday, President Biden announced his first slate of judicial nominees, including nominating U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the appeals court in Washington. 

Jackson is one of Biden’s 11 nominations and one of three Black women that he is nominating for appeals court vacancies. She is also the first Muslim American to serve on a District Court. Many have speculated that Jackson may become the first Black woman appointed to the Supreme Court, particularly after Biden pledged in his campaign to name a Black woman to the highest court. 

The eleven nominees are former prosecutors and public defenders, as well as sitting judges and attorneys at large law firms. The average age of the nominees is 48– a strategic decision to allow judges to serve for decades. 

“This trailblazing slate of nominees draws from the very best and brightest minds of the American legal profession,” Biden said in a statement. “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.”

On the list is also Zahid N. Quraishi, who, if confirmed, would be the first Muslim American on a District Court bench, as well as Candance Jackson-Akiwumi and Tiffany Cunningham, who would be the only Black judges on their respective courts.

These nominees are an important step towards fixing our judiciary and creating more equal justice, especially after the ways in which the judiciary was reshaped over the last few years. They reflect and represent the incredible diversity of our country,” Lena Zwarensteyn of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said in a statement.

The White House has reported that their goal is to fill vacancies quickly and prioritize diversity.

Sources: Washington Post 3/29/21; NPR 3/30/21

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