Biden moves to fill key appellate seat vacated by U.S. Supreme Court’s Jackson

1 min read
FILE PHOTO: U.S. District Court nominee Pan testifies at Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) -President Joe Biden on Wednesday nominated three women to serve as appellate judges including Florence Pan, who would succeed U.S. Supreme Court-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson on the influential federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.

Pan’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit marks the second time Biden has picked her to fill a seat vacated by Jackson, after selecting Pan in 2021 to succeed Jackson as a district court judge.

Biden also nominated public interest lawyer Rachel Bloomekatz to serve on the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. Magistrate Judge Doris Pryor to sit on the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The White House said the nominees continue fulfilling Biden’s pledge to diversify the federal bench. Nearly three-quarters of his 98 federal judicial nominees have been women. A majority have been people of color.

The nominations came as the Senate confirmed two of Biden’s earlier nominees, Charlotte Sweeney and Evelyn Padin, to be federal district court judges in Colorado and New Jersey, respectively.

Pan would fill a vacancy on the D.C. Circuit created by the U.S. Senate’s April confirmation of Jackson to become the first Black woman on the Supreme Court once Justice Stephen Breyer retires at the end of this term.

The Senate in September confirmed Pan on a 68-30 vote to become the first Asian-American woman judge on the federal district court in Washington, D.C. She was previously a D.C. Superior Court judge.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday will vote on advancing another D.C. Circuit nominee, U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs, whom Biden had considered for the Supreme Court nomination.

Pryor, a former prosecutor and public defender who is Black, would be the first judge of color on the 7th Circuit from Indiana.

Bloomekatz launched a public interest law firm in Columbus, Ohio, in 2019 after working at Washington-based appellate firm Gupta Wessler. She served as state counsel for Biden’s 2020 campaign in Ohio.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston;Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Leslie Adler)