The Biden administration is exceeding its promise to remake the federal judiciary in the country’s image. Aside from the historic Supreme Court confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden nominated 13 Black women, eight of whom have been confirmed, to the federal bench.
This week, the Senate also confirmed Arianna Freeman to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. A former federal public defender, Freeman, expanded the representation of judges who represented indigent defendants.
According to the administration, Freeman is the first woman of color to serve on the appellate court in the Third Circuit. Reportedly, Biden nominated more Black women in the first half of his term than all prior presidents combined. The nominations also reflect a call from civil rights organizations to include more public defenders in the pool of consideration for judicial appointments.
Last summer, the Senate confirmed former federal public defender Eunice Lee to the Second Circuit. As reported by NewsOne, she is the only Black woman currently serving on the appeals court and the second to ever sit on the bench.
Other notable Black women judges nominated by Biden include Judge Tiffany Cunningham, who became the first Black judge ever to serve on the Federal Circuit and Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi became the only woman of color actively serving on the Seventh Circuit — and just the second Black woman to act on that court ever. Overall, 84 out of 141 of Biden’s judicial nominees have been confirmed thus far.
The remaining nominees include Delaware Supreme Court Justice Tamika Montgomery-Reeves, Judge Dana Douglas and Nancy Abudu. All three await votes at various stages of the confirmation process.
Montgomery-Reeves is the first Black woman to serve on the Delaware Supreme Court, awaiting a committee vote on her nomination. Abudu currently serves as the deputy legal director and interim director for strategic litigation at the Southern Poverty Law Center. She is slated to serve on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Abudu served as a staff attorney in the 11th Circuit earlier in her career. Her confirmation would bring her full circle.
Increasing the diversity on the bench is an important endeavor. Bringing fresh perspectives to the federal bench can make a difference in matters facing the country. This is one area where Biden has delivered.
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