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Over the course of 2021, the Senate confirmed 40 of Biden’s nominees to circuit and district courts across the nation – the most in one year since former President Reagan was in office.
Meanwhile, the White House touted the diversity of the Biden-appointed judges, saying they “represent the diversity of the American public.”
Biden has nominated 53 women for federal judicial appointments. He has nominated 20 African Americans, 15 Hispanics and 13 Asian American and Pacific Islanders.
The White House said 78% of the confirmed judges are women, while 53% are people of color.
President Biden speaks at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, on Dec. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
“These judges will bring sorely needed diversity to the judiciary: not just demographic diversity, but also professional diversity, adding to the breadth and width and depth of knowledge possessed by the courts,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement.
“Because of the commitment to restoring the federal judiciary by President Biden and Senate Democrats, it is no longer a bench, that is simply prosecutors, partners in large law firms – but rather many, many others, from walks of life with different and needed perspectives on the federal bench such as public defenders, civil rights lawyers, election experts and more.”
The White House also said the judges represent “numerous historic firsts” – including the first openly LGBT woman to serve as a federal appellate judge in American history, Judge Beth Robinson for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the first African American judge to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Judge Tiffany Cunningham.
Judge Zahid Quaraishi of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey is the first Muslim American person to serve as a federal judge, and Judge Myrna Perez is the only active Latina serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and just the second Latina to ever serve on that court.
Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is the first Korean American woman to serve as a federal appellate judge, and Judge Lauren King of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington is the first Native American judge to serve anywhere in Washington state.
Regina Rodriguez, U.S. judge for the District of Colorado nominee for President Biden, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, April 28, 2021. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
In 2017, during the first year of former President Trump’s administration, the Senate confirmed 12 of his circuit court nominees and six of his district court nominees.
While Biden far outpaced Trump, a senior Senate Republican aide pointed out that in 2017, Trump also had his first nominee to the Supreme Court confirmed – Justice Neil Gorsuch.
The GOP aide also pointed to a rules change during the end of the Trump administration: The Senate is now able to process district court nominees with less debate time.
Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, U.S. judge for the Seventh Circuit nominee for President Biden, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, April 28, 2021. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Meanwhile, the White House said the judges represent “the rich professional diversity of the legal profession,” with 20% of the confirmed judges having served as civil rights lawyers and 40% having served as public defenders during their legal career.
“President Biden has spent decades committed to strengthening the federal bench, which is why he has appointed judges who are extraordinarily qualified, experienced and devoted to the rule of law and our Constitution to serve the American people,” the White House said.