Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
March 30, 2021

Both the House and Senate continue to be in recess for Easter and Passover.  The Senate will reconvene at 3:00 pm on Monday, April 12th and the House on Tuesday, April 13th, with votes at 6:30.

With 68 judicial vacancies at the start of his administration, President Biden on Tuesday announced plans to nominate 11 judges to the federal courts, including D.C. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace former D.C. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland, who is now U.S. attorney general.  Other nominees include: Zahid N. Quraishi, a magistrate judge and nominee for the New Jersey District Court, who would be the first Muslim American to serve on the federal bench, Tiffany Cunningham, a patent litigator in Chicago, was nominated to the Federal Circuit Appeals Court. She would be the first Black woman to serve on that court, Florence Y. Pan, a D.C. Superior Court judge, is nominated to replace Jackson on the D.C. District Court. She would be the first Asian American woman on the court, Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, who has served as a federal public defender for the last decade, is a nominee for the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court. She would be the only Black woman on that court’s bench.  Magistrate Judge Deborah Boardman and Federal Claims Court Judge Lydia Griggsby were nominated for the Maryland District Court.  Julien Neals, a county counsel and acting county administrator in New Jersey, was nominated to serve on New Jersey’s District Court.  Civil rights and criminal lawyer Margaret Strickland was nominated for the New Mexico District Court.  And finally, former federal prosecutor Regina Rodriguez was nominated for the Colorado District Court.

“These nominees consist of attorneys who have excelled in the legal field in a wide range of positions, including as renowned jurists, public defenders, prosecutors, in the private sector, in the military, and as public servants at all levels of government,” a White House statement said.  In contrast, former Democratic Presidents Barrack Obama and Bill Clinton, whose party also controlled the Senate at the beginning of their terms, were slow to fill judicial seats, focusing instead on legislative priorities. By the time they did turn in earnest to filling empty judicial seats, they faced frequent Republican opposition including filibusters and, eventually, Republican control of the Senate. That allowed McConnell in the last two years of Obama’s presidency to hold many important appellate seats open by blocking the president’s nominees. He also infamously blocked the nomination of Garland, now attorney general, to the Supreme Court.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.