The first year of the Biden Administration has drawn to a close. As a former Senate Judiciary Committee Chair, President Biden could be said to have been particularly attuned to the importance of judicial nominations, and this bears out in the numbers. This Administration has outpaced other recent Administrations in both nominations and confirmations (all numbers are drawn from the Federal Judicial Center).
In the first year of his presidency, Biden submitted 73 nominees to Article III courts, more than any other modern president. Comparatively, President Trump submitted 69 judicial nominations in his first year, President Obama submitted 34, President George W. Bush submitted 61, President Clinton submitted 47, President George H.W. Bush submitted 23, and President Reagan submitted 44. Biden has particularly outpaced other Presidents on District Court nominees, having submitted 55, more than any other President.
Comparatively, the 18 appellate nominees submitted by Biden are slightly lower than both Trump (19) and W. Bush (25). However, this can be explained by the number of vacancies each of the prior presidents inherited. President W. Bush inherited 26 appellate vacancies, while President Trump inherited 17. In comparison, President Biden inherited only two vacancies, making his pace even more impressive.
In 2021, the Senate confirmed 40 Article III judges: 11 judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals; and 29 judges to the U.S. District Court. This outpaces every President since Reagan who saw 41 judges confirmed (one Supreme Court, 8 appellate, and 32 district). In terms of appellate confirmations, Biden’s 11 falls short only of Trump’s 12.
Furthermore, Biden saw confirmation of 55% of judicial nominees submitted in his first year. This marks the first significant uptick in first year confirmation percentage in modern history, as this has been dropping since Reagan. To compare: please see the percentages of other Presidents below:
Additionally, President Biden has, despite having to navigate a 50-50 Senate, not seen a single judicial nominee defeated or blocked yet. In comparison, the Trump Administration had lost three nominees in their first year: Jeff Mateer; Matthew Petersen; and Brett Talley. This record is largely due to the caucus willing to stick together on judicial nominees. Not a single Biden judge has attracted any Democratic opposition.
President Biden’s success on nominations is despite the nominees having drawn more GOP opposition than the nominees of any previous President. Out of the 11 appellate nominees confirmed, only one attracted more than four votes from across the aisle (Tiffany Cunningham) and four attracted no minority votes at all (Eunice Lee, Myrna Perez, Lucy Koh, and Jennifer Sung). In comparison, despite drawing more opposition than any prior president, President Trump had more than four votes across the aisle for three nominees (Kevin Newsom, Ralph Erickson, and Joan Larsen).
The Biden Administration has prioritized choosing women and racial/ethnic minorities for court seats, seeking to do so to offset the lack of diversity in the nominees of previous administrations. They have also sought out nominees from backgrounds that are traditionally less likely to become judges, including public defenders, and civil rights attorneys. Both focuses are reflected in the nominees put forward.
So far, Biden has nominated thirteen women to the court of appeals, and a whopping forty-one women on the district level, making 74% of his judicial nominations women. In comparison, 23% of Trump’s judicial nominees in his first year were women, 38% of Obama’s judicial nominees from his first year were women, as were 25% of George W. Bush’s, 37.5% of Clinton’s, 17% of George H.W. Bush’s, & 5% of Reagan’s.
Biden’s confirmations has surged the number of women on the U.S. Court of Appeals from 59 to 64, moving the court of appeals from 33.3% female to 36.6% female.
Furthermore, approximately three out of four Biden nominees are lawyers of color, compared to less than 10% of President Trump’s first year nominees.
Biden’s judicial nominees have been compared to those of President Trump in terms of their youth, but, as noted earlier, President Trump’s nominees, at least in his first year, were not significantly younger than those of previous presidents, with an average age of 49.5 for appellate nominees and 52.5 for district court nominees. So far, President Biden’s appellate nominees have an average age of 48.7, while his district court nominees have an average age of 49.8, making them slightly younger than those of previous presidents, but not significantly so.
Looking at the empirical evidence, it is clear the Biden Administration has moved quickly on nominations, submitting more judges to the senate than any other recent president. They have also prioritized confirmations, moving judges through the process faster than prior presidents. Nonetheless, this success must come with the caveat that Biden is the first President since Carter to have a Senate controlled by his party by the end of his first year, while also avoiding a Supreme Court confirmation. Overall, while gaps remain, the Biden Administration’s success on judges reinforces the significance of the tenuous 50-seat majority that Senate Democrats hold, and the significant influence of each senator in maintaining that majority.
As we close 2021 I want to wish everybody a happy new year. I also want to thank the Biden administration for finally being a Democrat administration that takes the federal judiciary serious in his first year. As for how good I personally think he did, I would give him an overall grade of a B+ so far. He did a great job on some of the nominees & also with the number of nominees he put forth.
Unfortunately, he just had too many bad or too old nominees for me to give him an A, especially with only 4 of the nominees being from states with even one Republican senator.
Below are some of my first-year observations.
Best circuit court – Myrna Pérez
Worst circuit court – J. Michelle Childs
Best district court – Dale Ho
Worst district court – Florence Y. Pan
Some highlights would include the following;
After Regina Rodriguez was chosen for the district court, progressive groups forced the Colorado senators to include more progressives in their judicial commission & as a result we got more progressive nominees for the next two vacancies.
Prior to President Biden there had only been 8 black women on the circuit courts. Biden has nominated 7 black women in just his first year in office.
New York, Georgia & Connecticut had some really good nominees from their states.
Some low lights would include the following;
The New Jersey selection has by far been the worst. They did such a good job preventing Trump from filling any vacancies only to turn around & not have even one of their six nominees be a viable option for being nominated t0 the appeals court because they are either too old, not progressive enough or both.
California only nominating sitting state court judges, leaving out numerous nominees that would have been younger & more progressive.
Dale Ho not being nominated to either the 2nd circuit or DC circuit setting him up as a viable AAPI judge for serious consideration to the SCOTUS in the future.
Biden giving too much deference to red state senators for appeals court vacancies delaying nominations as we only have one so far from a state with at least one GOP senator.
J. Michelle Childs nominated to the DC circuit.
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My favorite district court picks (among those so far confirmed) would be Margaret Strickland of NM followed by Frimpong of CA, Boardman of MD, Williams of CT, and Cobb of DC.
My least favorite district picks (among those confirmed) would be Estudillo (WA), O’Hearn (NJ), Quraishi (NJ) , Williams (NJ), and Rodriguez (CO).
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That’s a solid list
I can’t give Biden a grade higher than C after the atrocious Michelle Childs nomination. I would have given him a B- before that. But nominating the truly awful New Jersey and California selections rather than sending many of them back already lower’s Biden’s grade here. You can’t blame the senators entirely when Biden and Remus could just have told them no.
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The Childs nomination definitely lowers the grade, there’s no disputing that. And we both agree on the New Jersey & California selections.
I only give him a B+ because he had far more highlights then low lights. The number of nominees plus 40 of them getting confirmed in one year. Almost doubling the entire history of the countries black women on the appeals court in just one year. Many of the nominees were outstanding picks. Also he set up some viable candidates for SCOTUS for the next decade or longer.
Biden simply had done a better job at nominating federal judges in his first year then the last two Democrat presidents combined. And even more impressive he is doing it with a 50/50 senate & inheriting far fewer vacancies then more presidents in my life time. So even taking into account the atrocious picks, I still have to give him his due credit.
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Yeah, the Childs nomination is equivalent of the Democratic version of Harriet Myers…….But George Bush got a do-over on that one, Biden likely won’t on his nomination…..
Also, unrelated, I sure hope Durbin adds a nomination hearing for next Wed, and puts the 10-12 judges who need to clear the SJC in a hearing on Thurs……Thus far, no nomination hearing and the Thurs business meeting only has US attorneys on it
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It’s a tough spot for Biden. We all know he wouldn’t be president if not for Clyburn. So when Clyburn ask for one huge favor how does Biden tell him no? Now I would have pushed really hard to put her on the 4th circuit but something tells me Biden did & Cluburn just really pushed to put her on the DC circuit instead. I think that’s why it took almost 7 months to get a nominee.
I really with Clyburn would have realized how bad of a decision this is & not put Biden in the position he did. But at the end of the day I’m not sure how Biden tells him no. It really is a historically bad pick though… Sucks
@rick. As I’ve said several times here, Senate Democrats made a huge mistake in 2005 by not explicitly going to Bush and telling him that they would support Harriet Miers (barring any extreme revelations) regardless of how unqualified she was.
There was no way that the Democrats were going to block Bush from making an appointment with a 55-45 GOP Senate and it was highly unlikely they were getting anyone better that Miers (maybe Alberto Gonzalez, but after the revelations that he had endorsed and covered up torture he was toxic to Democrats).
Sometimes you get a really bad hand and you just have to play it the best you can. Giving Bush a do-over on the Miers SCOTUS selection was a disaster.
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“I really with Clyburn would have realized how bad of a decision this is & not put Biden in the position he did. But at the end of the day I’m not sure how Biden tells him no. It really is a historically bad pick though… Sucks”
It should be very easy to tell Clyburn no. DC Circuit court and SCOTUS are not places for political payback. If you can’t say no to that level of political patronage, you shouldn’t be President. That’s part of why I called the Childs selection at the impeachable level. A district court selection or a US Attorney is the place for political favors, and even elevation to the 4th Circuit would be ok here (although not great). And even if Clyburn demanded that Childs get serious SCOTUS consideration, that could happen from the 4th Circuit.
But frankly I still think that Graham had a hand in all of this. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Graham vetoed Childs for the 4th Circuit and pushed Biden to wasting a spot on the DC Circuit with Judge Childs.
As is so often the case, I agree with Dequan – with one exception: The worst District Court nomination, to me, was Christine O’Hearn.
Of course, Happy New Year to all of you! May 2022 be a good year for the federal judiciary.
I actually miswrote that. I meant to write worst district court nominee outside of New Jersey since I was going to cover that below. But yes, overall, Christine O’Hearn is the worst nominee so I’m in totally agreement with you.
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Let me guess- the first article for January will be “Where we stand now.” Those threads also generate the most discussion.
Thank you Harsh for this excellent blog and as a place to discuss judicial nominations.
My top three circuit choices: 1). Toby Heytens 2). Jennnifer Sung 3). Myrna Perez
My top three district choices 1). Margaret Strickland 2). David Urias 3). Michael Nachmanoff
In the New Year, I hope that Biden begins to nominate more people from Red States. He should work with people like Cassidy, Portman, Collins, Murkowski, Graham. Wiith Senators like Blackburn, Hawley, Cruz etc. he should ignore them totally.
And I hope the CA Senators (and ther commissions) expand their horizons when it comes to picking judges. Not currently occupying a position as a Superior Court or Magistrate judgeship should not disqualify you from serving as a Federl District or Appellate Court judge.
Great job outlining the first year of confirmations from Biden!
I agree…No way is Biden the nominee if he doesn’t win SC….He did poorly in the first 3 contests and needed a landslide victory in SC, which he got & the momentum carried him into Super Tues a few days later…..
But still, giving Childs the 4th Circuit seat should have been good enough, all Circuit court seats are prestigious….As are District Court seats to actually, and the salary isn’t much different amongst District & Circuit court judges……
To use an NFL analogy, the Childs pick to DC Circuit was the Chargers taking Ryan Leaf with the 2nd pick in the 1998 draft…
Yup, I totally agree. I truly think Biden fought hard against her for the DC circuit. I believe Tatel announced senior status back in March. There is simply no way it takes 7 months to get a nominee for the second highest court in the land. I’m sure he was spending some of that time trying to get Clyburn to back down without being pushy. It just sounds like Clyburn didn’t budge. It’s truly sad, especially once the 4th circuit seat opened up.
I just don’t want to hold this atrocious nomination against him enough to lower his grade substantially because we all know why he did it. Putting ourselves in his place I am sure we all would have pushed harder against the pick but if Clyburn didn’t back down I just am not sure how Biden tells him no. Even after nominating his daughter to a position (Forgive me I forgot what position it was) Clyburn really wanted this pick to be set up for SCOTUS.
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Tamika Montgomery–Reeves for the Ambro seat
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“I’m sure he was spending some of that time trying to get Clyburn to back down without being pushy. It just sounds like Clyburn didn’t budge. It’s truly sad, especially once the 4th circuit seat opened up.”
And as I said above, if this is the entire reason for the Childs’ nomination, I would support impeachment. Giving a DC Circuit or SCOTUS appointment solely based on political patronage is not someone who should be President. Frankly Judge Childs would be more qualified that Harriet Miers, but not by much. She would be a gift wrapped present to the GOP.
What are your guesses regarding the Circuit vacancies currently looming:
CA1: the RI seat (Thompson)
CA2: Carney’s CT seat and the CT/NY seat (Cabranes)
CA3: two PA seats (McKee and Smith) and a DE seat (Ambro)
CA4: one seat from MD (Motz) and a SC seat (Floyd)
CA5: the LA seat (Dennis)
CA6: an OH seat (Clay) and a MI seat (White)
CA7: IL (Wood) and IN (Hamilton)
oops. Tamika Montgomery–Reeves for the Ambro seat
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Most of the eventual nominees will probably be names most of us are not familiar with as many of the first-year circuit court nominees were. Out of the 18 nominees, I had only heard of 9. But out of the names I know, I will give my predictions.
CA1: RI seat – I would say this will end up being a name I never heard of. Out of the names I know, I give the edge to Erin Lynch Prata as she is 46 & has a long history in the Democrat party before becoming a justice on the RI supreme court. Melissa A. Long also sits on the court but is 5 years older. However, she would tie the number of black women on the appeals court from Biden with all presidents before him so that may give her the leg up.
CA2: CT 2 seats (As mentioned before, in a 50/50 senate, I see no chance of a circuit court seat switching states so I will focus on CT). I think Raheem L. Mullins will get one of the seats. Omar Williams would probably better but he was recently confirmed to the district court so I doubt he will be nominated. For the other seat it will probably bea female I have not heard of, but I would prefer Joshua Perry myself.
CA3: TWO PA seats – I think Rebecca R. Haywood will get one of the seats as she is a black women & former Obama nominee but with her being 53 years old, I hope it’s somebody younger. Nilam Sanghvi would definitely be a better choice. I am sure at least one of the seats will go to somebody I haven’t heard of.
CA3: DE – Tamika Montgomery–Reeves
CA4: MD – There are so many possibilities here. If I had to pick one, I would say George J. Hazel.
CA4: SC – I’m not sure now with the whole Childs DC circuit debacle but I would guess a black woman.
CA5: LA – A state court judge appointed by Governor Edwards.
CA6: OH – Rachel S. Bloomekatz unless they give senator Portman a real say in the manner since he has worked with Biden in good faith on the stimulus & district court nominees. If so, then I expect a more moderate nominee such as Benjamin C. Glassman.
CA6: MI – A state court judge.
CA7: IL – I wish John Rappaport but with him being a white man, most likely not. I would venture to say either a Hispanic or AAPI nominee.
CA7: IN – Zachary A. Myers would be good but he was just confirmed in November. This is the one that’s hardest for me to predict.
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Nusrat Choudhury for the 7th circuit would be my second choice but I did not include her since she was recommended by Chuck Schumer for a district court seat in NY. But she is the legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois so Durbin might be considering her for the appeals court seat instead. Schumer recommended 3 nominees back in September & the other two have already been nominated which leads me to believe she could be the nominee for the 7th circuit & make history as the first Muslim appeals court judge in the history of the country.
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Feel this is a bit too pessimistic. Most of the judges you list here are primarily from Big Law or AUSAs and I wouldn’t give them a grade higher than C. Biden’s circuit court picks so far have been considerably better; I gave 11 of the 16 regular circuit court nominees a grade of B or better.
Someone like Mullins, who spent his entire pre-judicial career defending convictions of people who look like him in appellate courts would be quite disappointing coming from a blue state. I admit that I don’t know much about his judicial record, perhaps it is better. Even worse would be George Hazel who was a Big Law partner and AUSA, and sided with the Trump administration on immigration cases as a district judge. Neither would be minimally acceptable from a blue state.
The obvious exception of course is Rachel Bloomekatz who would be a solid A and probably would be right behind Myrna Perez in my rankings. However that Ohio seat should and likely will go to a Black candidate (replacing Judge R. Guy Cole), and Ohio state Judge Laurel Beatty Blunt (stepdaughter of the Congresswoman Joyce Beatty) will be a likely candidate. Of course Judge Karen Nelson Moore can take senior status immediately and rectify this situation.
“Most of the eventual nominees will probably be names most of us are not familiar with as many of the first-year circuit court nominees were. Out of the 18 nominees, I had only heard of 9.”
I suspect the same thing. Of the 18 nominees, I never heard of Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, Eunice Lee, Tiffany Cunningham, or Andre Mathis.
I Think Connecticut has more progressive possibilities, but if I had to predict I am actually more confident in Raheem L. Mullins being nominated than any other names I mentioned except for Tamika Montgomery–Reeves. Him being nominated at such a young age to the CT supreme court makes me feel he has been groomed for elevation. The second seat however I am less confident at who the nominee will be.
George J. Hazel probably won’t be the nominee. There are just countless possibilities from Maryland & with the South Carolina nominee almost surely being Black, there won’t be as much pressure for the Maryland nominee to be Black as well.
The one thing I would disagree with you on is the Ohio seat should and likely will go to a Black candidate. I think once Biden breaks the record for most Black women nominated to the court of appeals (He only needs two more), you won’t be able to credibly say he hasn’t delivered for the Black community on judicial nominees. Out of the current vacancies in the 1st, one of the 3rd, 4th SC & 5th circuit seats, I can see AT LEAST 2 black women being nominated to that batch of seats.
I think the real pressure will be to nominate more Hispanic court of appeals nominees. He would also want to nominate some AAPI nominees as well. Looking at the vacancies currently without a nominee, I think the Ohio seat is the most likely to see a Hispanic nominee. I would put the 10th & one of the 3rd circuits seats right behind that seat. With senator Portman working in good faith on the 3 district court nominees & the stimulus bill, I feel Biden will work with him to find a consensus nominee even post-blue slips. I can see a David Ruiz type nominee here.
While this article is not discussing the federal bench, it underscores what I wrote in my last post…
“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Graham vetoed Childs for the 4th Circuit
Shawn, I don’t think Graham should have been able to veto pick if Durbin did away with the blue slips……I cannot imagine Durbin allowing blue slips after all the judges that were confirmed in the last admin with both or at least one Democratic senator from their respective states not returning the blue slip(s) for various nominees….
Rick, in general you are right I don’t think a blue slip was in play here.
But Graham, along with Collins and Murkowski have voted for most of Biden’s nominees. Because of that, I think Biden values their input and is probably giving (due to his powerful Judiciary Committee seat) an effective veto over nominees from South Carolina (and would probably do so for Collins and Murkowski as well).
So it isn’t Durbin who is honoring blue slips for appellate nominees, it is Biden just giving Graham effective veto power because he has supported most nominees.
Normally I would agree with your comments above regarding political patronage. I don’t know if I would put this case under the same umbrella. Simply put, Joe Biden would not be president today had Clyburn not have saved him in South Carolina with his endorsement. And we are talking about a man that has run for president three times.
I do agree though that he should have put his foot down & at best nominated her to the fourth circuit (As you said even that would have been bad but considerably less worse). But if there is any one instance where I can see a president saying yes to a judicial recommendation regardless of how bad it was, I could see it in this case. I don’t think there is any one person that could have recommended a nominee to Trump, Obama, Bush or Clinton that would have as much justification for still nominating the person as much as in this case. Which is why I wouldn’t put it in the normal political patronage category.
As for Graham vetoing her for the 4th circuit, I sent an article in one of the earlier post a week or two ago speaking about this. Linsey said he was in talks with The white House regarding the 4th circuit vacancy & the talks are going well so I do not believe him vetoing the nomination is the case. If you can’t find the article let me know & I will find it & send it again.
@twelthcircut I will send my predictions of who I think will get the open seats tonight. I am out & do not have my notes with me until I return home tonight.
TBH, while Clyburn’s endorsement was very important, I don’t think the statement that “Joe Biden would not be president today” is entirely accurate. Biden finished second in Nevada and had a strong debate just before the SC primary (while Elizabeth Warren destroyed Bloomberg) and was picking up momentum as the anti-Sanders candidate. Even before Clyburn endorsed, Biden had the support of much of the Black politicians and voters. Biden struggled in the early states because they were filled with white liberal activists rather than the standard Democratic voter.
The main reason why Biden won the nomination is because the Democratic voters wanted someone who could beat Trump over anything else and did not believe that Bernie Sanders could. Even if Clyburn had remained quiet, I think Biden would still have won big in SC because of this pragmatism (although maybe by 15-20% instead of 29%). And then the Democratic Party establishment would have coalesced around Biden to stop Bernie Sanders.
But even if Clyburn’s endorsement was the main reason that Biden won, it still would never be an acceptable reason for this level of political patronage. And frankly it is impeachable in my view. If Biden appoints Childs to SCOTUS solely/primarily to return a favor to Clyburn, I don’t think he should be in office. KBJ for example is a far superior candidate in basically every way. I think Clyburn has certainly earned the right to make his case to Biden, but if he insists on this as payback, that’s pure corruption and neither should be in office. It’s on par with LBJ’s appointment of Fortas for the purpose of using Fortas as a mole inside the Supreme Court. Eisenhower also abused his power by promising Earl Warren a seat on the Supreme Court (as well as that turned out), and frankly Warren actually outright provided the margin of victory for Ike over Bob Taft at the 1952 GOP convention. These Circuit Court and Supreme Court seats should never be used as political patronage. They are supposed to be independent for a reason.
It’s telling to me that Stacey Abrams didn’t do the same thing for her sister. Abrams probably had as much to do with getting the Democrats to 50 seats as Clyburn did for Biden. She could have easily leaned on Warnock and Ossoff but apparently she didn’t.
“Linsey said he was in talks with The white House regarding the 4th circuit vacancy & the talks are going well so I do not believe him vetoing the nomination is the case.”
Saying that the talks were going well does not exclude the possibility that Graham said no to Childs for the 4th Circuit. He may well have said he would accept other candidates who Biden proposed.
I’m really surprised Stacy Abrams didn’t push for her sister too. And she would have been a much better candidate for the 11th circuit then Childs for either the DC or 4th. But I am happy she didn’t push hard because Nancy Abudu (Who I had never heard of before) is a phenomenal candidate. They both are the same age so youth had nothing to do with her being picked over Leslie Abrams.
As for your other comment, I truly truly hope Biden is just trying to please Clyburn & not seriously considering her for the SCOTUS. She would be 56 if Breyer retired this year. Her age alone should disqualify her but she isn’t even the most progressive possibility out of South Carolina, let alone the entire country. I am upset about her being nominated to the DC circuit but I will at least give a little justification for it, mostly because he has been pretty rock solid on most of is other circuit court picks.
But there is absolutely no, zilch, ZERO justification for nominating her to SCOTUS. Let’s hope with the new year that all of the bad court of appeals & above picks are left in the past.
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Clyburn has been pitching Judge Childs as a SCOTUS candidate under the guise of appointing a “working class” nominee. It is interesting that he made this pitch specifically to Kamala Harris with an implicit suggestion that he could help/hurt any candidacy in 2024/8.
Rather than nominating inferior candidates who may have went to public law schools, pick someone who actually has a record of representing for regular people rather than big corporate interests. I don’t care if someone went to Yale or Harvard Law if they took that talent and legal training and put it to use on behalf of regular people and progressive causes.
This kind of stuff is a reason why people hate politicians and think they are corrupt and then real dangerous people like Trump get elected as anti-politician “outsiders”. It was wrong and an abuse of power when Earl Warren (who was a fantastic Chief Justice) demanded that Eisenhower appoint him to the first SCOTUS vacancy in exchange for swinging California’s delegates without which Eisenhower would not have won the nomination. And it’s equally wrong today.
The judiciary is explicitly a third branch of government for a reason, it is supposed to be independent. It’s never appropriate to use judicial selections for political patronage. There are plenty of executive branch appointments available for that purpose. If Biden appoints Childs to the SCOTUS, I would support impeachment.
Leslie Abrams Gardner is far more qualified than Judge Childs. Yet Stacey Abrams had the decency to not use her considerable political clout for nepotism and patronage. I sure hope that she’s the next governor of Georgia.
I’d heard of Nancy Abudu and considered her for the 11th Circuit… but from Florida where she had spent most of her time as a public interest attorney. As I’ve said before I think Fred Smith Jr. and Lauren Sudeall were even better options. But I give the Abudu selection a clear A.
It won’t let me open the article. I will try to see if I can find it online where I an read it without a subscription.
Yea I see Nancy Abudu has spent most of her career in Florida. Biden is probably not confident Charles R. Wilson will retire this year as he is only 67. I wish he did take senior status though.
And yup, Some of the things you mentioned are things that led to Trump getting elected. I really hope we got most of the payback picks “Both for people Biden owes favors to as well as former Obama nominees that never got a vote”. 2022 really needs to be a year with no more Christine O’Hearns or judge Childs picks.
I’ll quote some of the relevant portions of the article for you. But the entire article is excellent and worth a read. (Personally I find the subscription to the NY Times worthwhile, but that’s up to you)
” After meeting in the Oval Office earlier this month with President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and his fellow senior House Democrats, Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina made a beeline to Ms. Harris’s office in the West Wing to privately raise a topic that did not come up during their group discussion: the Supreme Court.
Mr. Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, wanted to offer Ms. Harris the name of a potential future justice, according to a Democrat briefed on their conversation. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs would fulfill Mr. Biden’s pledge to appoint the first Black woman to the Supreme Court — and, Mr. Clyburn noted, she also happened to hail from South Carolina, a state with political meaning for the president.”
“Some Democrats like Mr. Clyburn, who have nervously watched Republicans try to repackage themselves as a working-class party, believe that Mr. Biden could send a message about his determination to keep Democrats true to their blue-collar roots by choosing a candidate like Ms. Childs, who attended public universities.
“One of the things we have to be very, very careful of as Democrats is being painted with that elitist brush,” said Mr. Clyburn, adding: “When people talk to diversity they are always looking at race and ethnicity — I look beyond that to diversity of experience.””
“Mr. Biden’s pledge to nominate the first Black woman to the court was an unusual kind of campaign promise: Mr. Clyburn nudged him to do it at a debate in Charleston before South Carolina’s pivotal primary last year. It was a vow that even some of the president’s aides resisted, worried that it might look like pandering.”
“There is an immediate vacancy there so I would advocate for her consideration to the D.C. circuit,” Mr. Butterfield, himself a former state Supreme Court judge, said of Ms. Childs. “And when and if there’s a Supreme Court vacancy she ought to be considered for that, as well.”
“Bakari Sellers, a Democratic political commentator who is close to Ms. Harris, has also pitched members of the vice-president’s inner circle on Ms. Childs, who was appointed to the federal bench by Mr. Obama in 2010.
“Not just for our party but for the judiciary it’s important to have somebody who has lived experiences,” Mr. Sellers said.”
That looks like a great article from the excerpts you sent. I actually am fine with trying to find a nominee from a working-class background. As horrible as it was when Amy Coney Barrett was rammed through onto the SCOTUS, the one bright spot was finally having a justice from a university other than Harvard & Yale. But at the end of the day nobody walks into a voting booth & decides they are going to vote for a president because they nominated justices from a certain university. So I just want a young progressive, I could care less what university they went to.
Now of course there was no mention of age in the excepts you sent which leads me to believe it wasn’t a focal point of the conversation that occurred in VP Harris office. That is mind blowing as there are plenty of possibilities with a working-class background that would be one to two decades younger than Childs.
I actually mentioned Bakari Sellers as the person I would like to see get the seat on the 4th circuit. So that sucks he was one of the ones that recommended Childs to the DC circuit. I know you said he probably doesn’t want it because he wants to stay in the political area, but I think he could be talked into it.
After reading the excerpts from the article I am more afraid now than ever that Childs may edge out Jackson Brown for SCOTUS. That would be disastrous on so many levels, so I hope I am wrong. Honestly, I wish Breyer would announce he will retire at the end of the term NOW. Then it would be unlikely Childs will be the nominee because she probably won’t be confirmed for the DC circuit until March. The longer Breyer waits to announce (If he eventually retires this year), the better the chance Childs will be the nominee.
Well it looks like the senate will have a couple less weeks of vacation this year thankfully. I’m only seeing four weeks of vacation in August & the end of the year vacation starts December 22nd so that’s an improvement (Albeit slight improvement) from last year.
Click to access 2022_calendar.pdf
They’re back tomorrow and will vote on Sanchez…..But if they don’t have nominees on Thurs meeting, then it will be end of Jan before they would be brought to senate floor for final vote……
They have 14 nominees pending that need a hearing. If they would hold 7 nominees per hearing we could get them knocked out on January 12th & 19th. I don’t know when 5 nominees max became the magic number but if it is then they need to hold a hearing this week or they will get behind as I am sure a 12th batch will come some time in January.
And Durbin absolutely needs to add the pending nominees that have not been voted out of committee such as Dale Ho on Thursday’s executive calendar. They should have put that group on the last calendar they had before recess so they an be held over & voted out this week but it would be near criminal to end this week without as much as a hold over vote.
Finally if senator Scott of Florida continues to obstruct the DC judges then they should force the senate to stay in session at the very least until Thursday night& al day Friday to confirm each of them. He can’t be allowed to block them all just because he doesn’t trust Biden from nominating far left judges.
Senate will be out week of Jan 17…They seem to always take an entire week off even though Mon is the holiday.
They still have 2 District Court nominees who need a discharge vote….Schumer could start that process Tues if he so chooses….
That would be nice if the WH announced new nominees this week, especially for the 3rd Cir openings….
They need to start having more votes on Monday’s if they plan on sticking with the Monday at 5pm to Thursday at 3m schedule. At least 3 votes should occur on Monday’s.
We are already starting the new year off in the wrong foot. The vote to confirm Gabriel Sanchez has just been postponed until tomorrow…smh
Yeah and cloture was filed on an executive nominee, should have done the Thomas vote after the weekly caucus meetings Tues..
And I doubt any work will be done on the anniversary of January 6th. These are the type of decisions that lead to the massive backlog & flurry of votes before a recess. They just took 2 weeks off. It’s absurd they can’t get to work tonight.
Biden just sent his the judicial nominations back to the senate. He did not send Childs nomination however. There still is hope for a change of heart & her being nominated for the 4th circuit but I doubt it. I’ll still hold out hope until I see DC circuit in black & white.
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Yay – Revised agenda
Excellent. Durbin was just waiting for the renominations to be sent to the senate. I am not sure how the rules work but I hope the ones that were held over once will be able to be voted to the floor this time & it does not reset so this counts as the first week of being voted on for the new year.
I truly hope they can do 7 nominees in the next two straight hearings & have them back to back Wednesday’s starting next week.
The 3 nominees from Ohio and Chun from Washington are on there and they were already voted out of committee on Dec 16th…
The 2 nominees who needed discharged are on there, again, so I guess they’ll deadlock at 11-11 again..
No nominees from the Dec 15th hearing are on there…
Dale Ho and the others from Dec 1 hearing were never on calendar so this would be their held over week…
It’s utterly ridiculous the Dale Ho group was not included in the previous two executive calendar meetings. They could have been voted out Thursday & Dale Ho should be given priority over all nominees other then Holly Thomas who should be voted on by the end of Thursday anyway.
Durbin is acting as if the Democrats are not one Democrat senator in a state with a Republican governor heart beat away or one Joe Manchin hissy fit away from losing the majority…smh
Here’s another article discussing the frustration with the DC circuit pick near the end.
No votes on Tues now.
This snow storm re-enforces why the senate should have stayed in session the last Friday before the Christmas recess to finish confirming Sanchez, Thomas & at least the two discharged nominees. With Thursday being the January 6th anniversary, we’ll be lucky to get a vote on a post office naming this week, let alone more then one federal judge…smh
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There is a vote Wed, but it’s not Sanchez, it’s a cloture vote..
Welp, the senate just recessed for the rest of the week with no more role call votes until Monday. They basically added a week vacation to their schedule. They didn’t even confirm Gabriel Sanchez, let alone any other judges. Senator Feinstein missed the one vote they did take so I assume she’s out AGAIN so Schumer was afraid to bring the vote up in fear that he would be defeated without her.
I have never advocated her resigning despite me supporting her primary opponent De León in her last election but if she continues to miss so many votes in a 50/50 senate she really should give it some consideration. This week was literally a waste for the senate.
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So i guess that means Thurs SJC meeting is cancelled, so next week the nominees will be held over…Then they’re off the week of MLK holiday, so the nominees won’t be ready to go to the floor until Jan 27th
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The Republicans send their votes in by proxy at every executive calendar meeting so Feinstein should be able to do that at least so not to delay the votes. Although one hearing she asked senator Coryn to change his vote to present because she couldn’t make it. I still don’t understand why she had to do that but they really need to hold the vote tomorrow. 2022 will start off in a disastrous way for judicial nominees if they don’t.
Feinstein voted by proxy this week and did so last October. Not sure why Feinstein passed on the Sung nomination but Cornyn voted present on that one. Feinstein also proxy voted on another nomination where they split 11-11
Thurs SJC now officially cancelled……They should, but they won’t, take off for MLK day and gavel in rest of the week..
Unreal. A completely wasted week.
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They will never get all the circuit court judge nominees confirmed by the midterms if this is the attitude they will take . There will be a hell a lot of more snow coming in the upcoming months and I guess they can’t find a way to get work like the rest regardless of hot crappy the weather is. I could see some judges withdrawing taking senior status if it continues.
Thus was expected though, you just have to accept that senators are lazy bums who would get fired in any other profession for their work ethic or lack of it more accurately. They have also have vacation the week of Jan 17th
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Yup, this is truly sad. No reason why they couldn’t have just come in Friday at the very least & spend the entire day voting. After 2 weeks off, Monday – Wednesday cancelled, Thursday with January 6th anniversary ceremonies all day, working from 10am to 8pm Friday can’t be too much to ask.
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The only good news on the judicial front this week is the two remaining non-Biden judges on the Western District of Washington have announced they will assume senior status upon the confirmation of their successors.
They both were appointed by GW Bush (One is Quincy Jones half-brother). That means by next year 7 judges on that court will have been appointed by Biden.
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I hope that Marsha Chien and Colleen Melody get those 2 new Seattle-based seats
Either would be good. I think one of the vacancies should be African American though. To have 2 court of appeals seats, 9 Western district seats & 4 Eastern district seats & none of them be Black would be a tough pill to swallow.
With 3 vacancies still left to fill, I think they can spread the wealth fairly easily. I know the US attorney for the Western district is Black, but that is not a lifetime position.
Chien would be an excellent choice here in particular. I would have actually preferred Chien even being nominated instead of Tana Lin. (Of course some of the other nominees like Estudillo are horrible).
They would be fantastic nominees.
One potential African-American nominee could be Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender Attorney Jamal Whitehead. He is a former federal prosecutor and also worked as a Trial Attorney for the EEOC. And his private practice focuses on “victims of workplace discrimination, retaliation, and other unlawful employment practices”. I’m not as active as many other commenters on here but I’ve been working on a project that I’ve finally decided to share. It’s a spreadsheet tracking potential judicial appointments that I would like to see. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1uRo9jpeSqKzj6S2HcZaMEOBbfsB3PBce2EwgX5sPCus/edit?usp=sharing
First of all welcome. It doesn’t matter if your as active as people like Shawn, Rick & myself or not, we welcome all comments. As for your list, WOW. Many of the names are ones we have discussed over the past, however some I had never heard of but love it. It looks like the White House Counsel’s office could use your help, especially in the states of New Jersey, California & the DC circuit… Lol
Since I agree with probably 95% of your list, I will just focus on the few I wouldn’t want to see nominated & the reasons why below;
Cate Stetson – She would be an absolute disaster of a pick. She may be the only person I could think of that would be worse then the actual pick J. Michelle Childs. She doesn’t have a progressive background & was born in 1969.
J. Paul Oetken – He is too old born 1965 for a circuit court appointment.
Caitlin Halligan – She is too old born 1966 for a circuit court appointment. I would have liked to see her nominated to the NY court of appeals (NY’s supreme court) however.
Manish Shah – While he is an Obama appointee, this was when Illinois had Republican senator Kirk & this was his recommendation. Looking into his background I see nothing progressive.
Nancy Joseph – With her 1968 birth year, I do not see anything in her background that would lead me to believe she is progressive enough to justify not going with a younger candidate.
Dax Lopez – Although he was nominated by Obama, he was a Republican recommendation when the state had two GOP senators. After the failed nomination of judge Boggs, this was the replacement candidate. He would have been the first Hispanic judge in the state so he was an acceptable consensus nominee but not now with two Democrat senators in Georgia.
But once again your list is SOLID overall. I know you are not active much on the site but I look forward to your comments in the future.
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Not all of them are people I want to see nominated, some are just ones that I know have a chance of being nominated.
Ah cool cool. Well either way it’s a solid list overall. Excellent research & work.
I wonder if Biden will nominate a public defender (I would guess federal, but maybe King County?) to one of the open WDWA seats. He’s nominated FPDs to other district court seats but not to this court so far – I don’t know if there are any FPDs that would be a good fit?
Agree that for demographic diversity, the administration will probs nominate at least one Black candidate. WDWA is becoming quite the diverse court (at least demographically) as a result of these new Biden nominations, though I agree that Estudillo was not ideal.
Anyone know why Gould hasn’t taken senior status yet? And any ideas who would be a likely candidate to replace him? Lauren King (who was just confirmed to WDWA) would be great to make history as the first Native American judge, but I wonder if it would be too soon since she was just confirmed.
Washington state has a wealth of federal defenders & other possibilities with progressive backgrounds. The issue is the two senators put a bi-partisan commission together to recommend federal judges. That is fine in a purple or red state, but in bright blue states we get picks that would have been acceptable if nominated by Trump.
As for judge Gould, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis & lost the use of his arms and legs & now relies on a wheelchair for mobility. This led me to believe he would take senior status fairly early in the Biden administration, so I am surprised he still hasn’t. If he did, only Lauren J. King would be acceptable from the Biden nominees as Tana Lin is much more progressive but she is 55 years old so I would hope the nominee would be a decade or so younger. If I had to bet, I would say it would be a new nominee, not a district court nominee that has been on the bench less then a year.
Your list of possible appellate court nominees is very well done. Excellent work, and even more so that you listed all your sources.
It’s great to be able to compare lists of potential judges with other people of similar interests. There is considerable overlap between our lists but you have several names that I’ve never come across, in particular those within the government. The one suggestion I would have is to list demographic information (race, gender, LGBT) regarding potential candidates.
Some other sources that I have looked at in the past (if you have the time and patience):
Former Supreme Court clerks (Wikipedia has a list and I can put my spreadsheet up at some point) for liberal Justices or even Justices O’Connor and Kennedy. Unfortunately most of these people live in NYC, DC area, or CA.
Demand Justice Supreme Court suggestions. Some of their great choices are a bit too old.
The main and chapter pages of the American Constitution Society, their advisory boards and speakers at their national conventions.
Federal public defender districts.
ACLU, SPLC and other public interest groups, both national and state level chapters.
LawDragon’s Top 500 Plaintiff and Civil Rights attorneys. From a quick glance I suspect that a majority of these people are too old. But I think many of them should be included, although some of the younger ones may not be suited for an appellate position yet.
I haven’t been able to find any reliable information regarding the appellate attorneys who staff the DOJ during the Obama or Biden admin (or really any other department) or at the US Atty’s office. The government handbook is almost useless since most of the open positions for deputy and assistant deputies are vacant or listed as vacant. I can understand not making national security offices, US Atty, and the DOJ criminal department info publicly available, but the rest of the staff should be made available.
The one exception is the past yearly Office of Legal Counsel opinions, which list all the people in the office in their yearly volume.
Has anybody been able to find the names of Tom Saenz suggestions for Hispanic judges to the Biden Administration? I would love to see that list. I’m sure there are some names on it that I have not come across even after years of studying up on judicial possibilities & my engagement on this, as well as other websites & blogs.
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I only put sources in the sheet that I feel I’m likely to forget how to find later. I’ve looked at former Supreme Court clerks, Federal Defenders, and public interest groups. When looking into US Attorneys, I often go into news releases by each USAO office and google the Assistant US Attorneys who are prosecuting each case (usually listed). I’ve looked into ACS chapters some but I have not heard of LawDragon before, so thank you.
As concerns the WA seat on the Ninth Circuit: Given his health issues, I similarly expected Judge Gould to go senior early in the Biden Administration. While I am glad that he seems to feel able to serve, I nonetheless hope that he permits Biden to nominate a replacement soon.
Lauren King, obviously, would be a great choice, though it would immediately open her District Court seat so soon again. Other candidates are probably Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis of the WA Supreme Court and Judge Cecily Hazelrigg-Hernandez, serving on the WA Court of Appeals. Personally (and you guys already know that I like academics), I would love to see Prof. Lisa Manheim appointed.
The senate judiciary committee just announced their will be a nomination hearing next week Wednesday finally. I was getting worried. Andre Mathis should be in the first panel. If so, then that will confirm & put to rest any notion that senator Durbin will allow Republicans to block circuit court nominees by withholding their blue slips.
I expect both 60-year-old district court nominees Trina Thompson & Evelyn Padin to be in this hearing as well. Hopefully they will include all 4 nominees from either California or New York & make it 7 nominees. I will definitely be watching.
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When Ms. Abudu has her hearing, bet it will be very combative….Then again, the GOP has opposed all of Biden’s circuit court picks..
And this is why Biden mine as well nominate all young progressives, even if it’s in a purple or red state. The GOP are going to oppose every one of the nominees with a few exceptions.
A 55-year-old, GW Bush appointee Gustavo Gelpí got 52 votes despite other possibilities over a decade younger. Toby J. Heytens who received praise from GOP senators at his hearing only got 53 votes. Lucy Koh was the best-case scenario Republicans could expect from California & she only got 50 votes.
The GOP should press Durbin to skip the normal month waiting period & get J. Michelle Childs hearing this Wednesday, don’t hold her over for the normal 1 week to vote her out of committee & then press Schumer to bring her vote to the floor the same Thursday she is voted out of committee because she is absolutely the best-case scenario for the DC circuit. But guess what… She will at most get 54 votes. So why not just nominate progressives in their low 40’s & just lose 3 or 4 votes. At worst you just have to add a discharge vote which I am perfectly fine with. Schumer should make a rule that all discharge votes will be held on Friday mornings, so you don’t lose normal floor time.
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Well, this week was a waste in the senate…Granted it, with the weather and anniversary of 1/6 this wasn’t going to be a normal week…..But i wish they could have at least had the SJC mtg yesterday, so the nominees could have gotten the “HELD OVER” out of the way…
I hope they confirm Sanchez & Thomas next week…..
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This was a complete waste of a week for the senate. With the 1/6 anniversary I would argue they should have voted yesterday just for the symbolism. At the very least they should have come back in session today in defiance of the rioters & had a few hours of voting. But of course that would cut into their vacation time despite just coming back from a 2 week vacation so that was out of the question.
And it’s almost criminal the SJC didn’t at the very least have a vote to hold over the nominees. Durbin is starting to disappoint. The backlog that will be created will take a while to get caught up with if ever before the midterms.
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They SHOULD confirm the 9th Cir nominees next week, it was mentioned (sort of) in the wrap up today.
And then another WEEK off. I’m sure MLK would rather the senate stay in session at least 2 days that week to work on voting rights instead of taking an entire week off…smh
The business meeting on Thursday is loaded with nominees as they added the ones from Nevada & couple other states…..I assume everyone will be held over this week…..I just hope GOP doesn’t try to hold over Dale Ho for additional weeks….I know there have been couple nominees (judicial and executive) that were held over 2 weeks…
There is absolutely, positively no reason whatsoever for Durbin to allow any additional hold over weeks other then the customary one week. The nominees have already sat sine the December 1st hearing.
Dale Ho’s group already missed two business meetings votes. When you add on the 2 week Christmas recess, last week (Which was in effect a third vacation week), this week & one week hold over, any additional time would be ridiculous. They are going to vote unanimously against Dale Ho in particular so we need him to advance to the floor as quickly as possible so Schumer can get started on discharging him.
Well it’s official. Childs has been nominated to the DC circuit. I was hoping with all my heart it was a mistake & Biden would nominate her to the 4th circuit. This is truly Biden’s worst circuit court nominee by far.
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Well we have to hope that Judith Rogers (Clinton judge) takes senior before the midterms. Karen Henderson could too but she’s a Bush judge so guessing not. Interestingly Henderson was also a judge for the District of South Carolina before like Childs was.
That’s a surprisingly high amount of District of South Carolina judges on the DC circuit. It kind of reminds me of when SCOTUS had two judges from Arizona on it when O’Connor was confirmed.
Is there any particular reason why they won’t vote on two Circuit judges for the 9th Circuit….They’ve already had the 20 second and full timeouts, it’s time to confirm Sanchez & Thomas…
Several Democrat senators area in Georgia with the president & vice president today. They will need all 50 senators to confirm those two. The good news is it looks like Schumer is going to keep the senate in session through the weekend, possibly even MLK day itself. Hopefully they do & confirm both before the recess.
I thought Sanchez could get 3 or 4 Republican votes….Now Thomas won’t get any…
I doubt Sanchez would get 4 Republican votes, probably not even 2. At least 3 Democrats are out of DC today so no chance of a vote today. I truly hope Schumer keeps them in session at least Friday & Saturday.
On another front the SJC still hasn’t released the names of tomorrow’s nominations hearing. It really is ridiculous they make us wait until almost the day of to release the names. They know by the end of the previous week who will be at the hearing so I don’t know why the big secret right up until they almost gavel the hearing to start.
Mathis will have his hearing Wed…..Wish we could have done 1-2 more judges, but this list is ok..
I just saw. Yea only 4 judges is disappointing but I’m super happy at least Mathis is in there. That confirms no more blue slips for circuit court nominees despite some worry thank God.
Judge McKeown on the 9th Circuit just announced she will go senior upon confirmation of a successor – she sits in San Diego now but the seat used to be a Washington seat.
Any thoughts on whether this seat will revert to Washington?
Yes yes. Now we need one or more of the three GW Bush appointees to take senior status as well. And as mentioned before on other post, I see no chance of any seats switching states in a 50/50 senate. But in this case I really don’t see it because California courts are understaffed as it is.