On Thursday, President Joe Biden named another diverse group of candidates for his second round of judicial appointments, a day after those of his first slate of choices went to a Senate committee.
The second round includes three nominees: a woman who will be the first Asian American to be appointed as a federal judge in Washington’s Western District, a Latino who is currently the presiding judge of the Grant County Superior Court in Ephrata, Washington, and a woman who is a longtime labor and employment litigation lawyer in New Jersey.
Democrats, who hold the Senate for the first time in six years, are eager to turn the page on the Trump administration, particularly when it comes to judges.President Donald Trump selected mainly white men to fill the jobs, and now more than one-quarter of the federal judiciary has been appointed. Trump, a Republican, nominated three Supreme Court members: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.
Biden’s new nominations include two appointments to Washington’s Western District, covering Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia, the White House said in a statement. One is David Estudillo, Ephrata’s Grant County Superior Court chairman. Since 2015, he has been a Superior Court judge and is president of the Association of the Washington State Superior Court Judges. In private practice, he handled immigration and civil cases.
The other is Tana Lin, with Keller Rohrback LLP since 2004, concentrating on representing antitrust litigation employees and shareholders. From 2001 to 2003, she was the Michigan Poverty Law Firm’s litigation coordinator. She graduated from New York University Law School in 1991.
Biden has recommended white Christine O’Hearn for the U.S. District Court for New Jersey District. She has been a partner at Brown & Connery LLP since 1993, specialising in workplace cases. She was also a law professor at Rutgers University Law School. She graduated from Temple University James E. Beasely Law School in 1993.
“Christine O’Hearn is a highly effective and respected lawyer with the intelligence, thoughtfulness and disposition required to be a talented federal judge, and I am proud to have recommended her appointment to New Jersey’s U.S. District Court,” Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said in a statement.
There are currently 78 judicial vacancies, according to the judicial website. Biden, a Democrat, nominated 11 candidates. The Senate, which must approve the nominations, is divided 50-50, calling on Vice President Kamala Harris to break certain tie votes.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard Wednesday from five Biden candidates, with Ketanji Brown Jackson receiving the most attention. She is a federal judge in the Columbia District, and as Merrick Garland became his attorney general, Biden wants her elevated to an appeals court seat left vacant. Biden vowed to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court if a vacancy occurs, and Jackson is widely seen as a possible pick-up line.
Administrative officials highlighted the pace at which Biden announces candidates, stressing that the president was out of the gate, with names quicker than his immediate predecessors.
In a statement, the White House said all candidates were “immensely eligible and committed to the rule of law and our constitution.”
“These candidates also speak to the President’s deep conviction that the federal judiciary should represent the nation’s proud diversity of both personal and professional backgrounds,” he said.
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