WASHINGTON | President Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled his first slate of judicial nominees, a racially diverse and mostly female field that is a sharp departure from the largely white and male picks during Donald Trump’s administration.
Biden’s list puts three Black women on federal courts of appeals, a pathway to the Supreme Court. The most prominent of the three is U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, whom Biden says he will nominate to the seat left vacant on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit by Judge Merrick Garland’s departure to become Attorney General.
The D.C. Circuit, in particular, is a place where presidents have recently searched for Supreme Court justices. Three of the high court’s nine members previously served on the D.C. Circuit.
Biden pledged during the campaign to nominate a Black woman to the high court if a vacancy opens during his term.
The White House said the 11 nominees are attorneys who have excelled in a range of legal positions, including as jurists, public defenders, prosecutors and public servants, as well as in the private sector and the military.
“This trailblazing slate of nominees draws from the very best and brightest minds of the American legal profession,” Biden said in a statement. “Each is deeply qualified and prepared to deliver justice faithfully under our Constitution and impartially to the American people — and together they represent the broad diversity of background, experience, and perspective that makes our nation strong.”
The White House said Biden’s choices reflect his strong belief that the federal courts should reflect the “full diversity of the American people” in background and professional experience.
Trump leaned heavily on white men to fill judicial vacancies.
Biden’s group also includes candidates who, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, would be the first Muslim American federal judge in U.S. history, the first AAPI woman to ever serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the first woman of color to ever serve as a federal judge for the District of Maryland.