40 federal judges confirmed in 2021; Biden appoints 2 others

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden makes two final federal judicial appointments this year as he crowns his first year in office with 40 senior judges, the highest number since Ronald Reagan was president.

Nancy Gbana Abudu, her candidate for the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in the Deep South, would be the first black woman appointed to this court. The circuit covers Alabama, Georgia and Florida where 8.5 million people are black and yet there is only one black judge on the 12-person panel, Charles Wilson, and he was appointed. by former President Bill Clinton.

The second candidate, also a woman of color, is J. Michelle Childs, currently a United States District Court judge for Southern California. She is nominated for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Abudu is currently Deputy Legal Director for Strategic Litigation at the Southern Poverty Law Center and was previously at the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and also worked on the ACLU Voting Rights Project. She graduated from Tulane University Law School in 1999.

His deep experience with voting rights will be extremely relevant, according to White House officials and advocates, especially given the growing challenges voters face this year following a series of restrictions imposed by the GOP. She would also be the first judge of color to sit in court in Georgia, a state that was among the most closely watched in the 2020 election.

“This is an extraordinary appointment,” said Leslie Proll, senior advisor on judicial appointments for the NAACP and who practiced in the 11th Circuit. “The appointment of Nancy Abudu fills a breathtaking gap in representation on this Southern Appeal Bench. His substantial voting rights expertise will be a welcome addition to this court, which has an inordinate voting rights record and is essential to the protection of our democracy. ”

Childs has been on the bench in California since 2010, appointed by former President Barack Obama. She received her Masters in Forensic Studies from Duke University School of Law in 2016. She received her law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Along with those two, Biden has now appointed 73 federal judges. Of the 40 confirmed to date, 80% are women, 53% of whom are people of color, according to the White House.

The US Senate must confirm the appointments. But without the Supreme Court opening to slow them down, Biden and the Senate Democrats are putting judges in federal trial and appellate courts at a much faster rate than any of Biden’s recent predecessors, including former President Donald Trump.

The Senate confirmed 18 circuit and district court judges in Trump’s first year in office and 12 in Obama’s inaugural year.

Obama and Clinton, the last two Democratic presidents, have been slow to come up with judicial appointments. But they both had Supreme Court vacancies early on that took a long time to process.

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