Joe Biden

Biden to release his first wave of judicial nominees

Biden, a former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, begins his presidency with 68 judicial vacancies — seven appellate court vacancies and 61 district court vacancies. That number of vacancies is fewer than what former President Donald Trump inherited upon entering the White House. Trump had an open Supreme Court seat, 86 district court seats and 17 circuit court seats to fill.

After Senate Republicans confirmed more than 200 judges during Trump’s presidency — a confirmation juggernaut that GOP leaders took pride in — Democrats and progressive groups are vowing to exert their own influence on the federal bench.

One name already floated as a prospective Biden Supreme Court pick, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, was on the Biden administration’s list for potential nominations to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals as recently as last week, according to one source. Jackson is currently a federal district judge in the District of Columbia.

Biden’s expected announcement of 11 picks comes amid a growing belief among Democrats that former President Barack Obama was too sluggish in addressing the courts. Obama announced his first judicial pick on March 17, 2009, followed by two additional picks on April 2 of that year.

Trump faced a comparatively unusual situation as he came into office: a vacant Supreme Court seat, held open by Senate Republicans who refused to act on Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Trump tapped Judge Neil Gorsuch for that slot on Feb. 1, 2017. Trump’s first pick for a lower court came for an appeals court on March 21.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment. But on Tuesday morning they formally released the full list. The names are as follows:

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia: Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Tiffany Cunningham, a partner at Perkins Coie LLP: Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder: Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Judge Deborah Boardman, a United States Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Maryland: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.

Judge Lydia Griggsby, a Judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.

Julien Neals, County Counsel and Acting County Administrator for Bergen County: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Judge Florence Y. Pan, an Associate Judge on the Superior Court for the District of Columbia: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia

Judge Zahid N. Quraishi, a United States Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Regina Rodriguez, a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.

Margaret Strickland, a named partner at McGraw & Strickland LLC: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico.

Judge Rupa Ranga Puttagunta, an Administrative Judge for the D.C. Rental Housing Commission: Nominee for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

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