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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Biden's Judicial Nominees Have Diverse Backgrounds

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Biden's Judicial Nominees Have Diverse Backgrounds

Among those named on Tuesday are nominees with experience as military and family court judges, a county administrator and an intellectual property lawyer.

For the seventh circuit, Mr. Biden chose Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, an experienced litigator who was a federal public defender in Chicago for a decade, not a traditional résumé entry for an appeals court nominee. But progressives consider her to be emblematic of the type of candidates they hope Mr. Biden will select for other judicial openings around the country.

“It is critical that a diverse, qualified nominee be nominated for the Seventh Circuit,” said Russ Feingold, the former Democratic senator from Wisconsin who now heads the American Constitution Society. “The Seventh Circuit is currently all white judges and it is time to reverse that trend that was so accelerated by the Trump administration.”

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Ms. Jackson-Akiwumi, currently a partner at the Washington law firm of Zuckerman Spaeder, is just one of the African-American candidates on Mr. Biden’s list, including Judge Jackson, a lower-level federal judge in the District of Columbia who is considered a top candidate if Mr. Biden has an opportunity to name someone to the Supreme Court.

The first judicial picks of a new presidency typically set the tone for the administration. The White House tightly controlled information about who was under consideration for nominations. With 68 slots now open and an additional 26 scheduled to become vacant later this year, liberal activists are encouraging the administration to be aggressive to counter the Mr. Trump’s choices, particularly since Democrats could lose control of the Senate in next year’s midterm elections.

White House officials said Mr. Biden was moving more quickly than Mr. Trump and other former presidents. By the end of March of his first year, Mr. Trump had named only one circuit court judge and no district court judges. Mr. Obama had named one circuit court judge and three district court judges. President George W. Bush did not name any judges until May of his first year in office, and President Bill Clinton until August.

From the start, Mr. Biden’s White House has made clear that it intends to put judges with different types of backgrounds on the federal bench as quickly as it can. In a letter in December, the incoming White House counsel, Dana Remus, told Democratic senators that Mr. Biden would be looking for judges from groups historically underrepresented on the bench.

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Carl Hulse and Michael D. Shear

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Biden's Judicial Nominees Have Diverse Backgrounds
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