Biden rolls out racially diverse slate of judicial nominees, including a Bush nominee

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President Biden on Wednesday announced his intent to nominate three new Court of Appeals nominees and three new District Court nominees – picks that the White House says embody his commitment to ensuring judicial nominees “represent not only the excellence but the diversity of our nation,” the White House said.

The White House said Biden’s third slate of judicial nominees “will bring deep credentials to the federal bench, as well as career-long devotion to our Constitution and the rule of law.”

The White House touted the nominees as “groundbreaking choices.”

For the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, Biden nominated Gustavo A. Gelpí Jr. – a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, where he has served as chief judge since 2018. Gelpí was appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2006. The White House highlighted Gelpí as “the second judge of Hispanic origin to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the second judge from Puerto Rico ever to sit on the First Circuit.”

For the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, Biden nominated Eunice C. Lee, an assistant federal defender with the Federal Defenders of New York. Prior to that role, Lee worked with the Office of the Appellate Defender from 1998 to 2019.

For the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, Biden nominated Veronica S. Rossman, who has served as senior counsel in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Districts of Colorado and Wyoming since 2017, and prior to that, served as assistant federal public defender in the Appellate Division from 2010 to 2015.

As for District Court nominees, Biden tapped Angel Kelley as the nominee for the District of Massachusetts. Kelley served on the Massachusetts state court as an associate judge since 2009. Kelley previously served as an assistant U.D. attorney from 2007 to 2009. If confirmed, Kelley would become the second African American woman judge and the second Asian American judge to serve on the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, the White House said.

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For the Western District of Washington, Biden tapped Lauren J. King, a principal at Foster Garvey, P.C. King chairs the firm’s Native American Law Practice Group and has served as a pro team appellate judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System since 2013. She also is an appointed commissioner on the Washington State Gambling Commission. The White House said King would be “only the third active Native American federal judge currently serving in the entire United States,” and “the first Native American federal judge in Washington State history.”

And for the District of New Jersey, Biden nominated Karen Williams, who has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court in the District of New Jersey since 2009, Williams also serves as an adjunct professor at Rowan University, and previously spent 17 years in private practice, focusing on employment law. Williams would be the first African American district court judge to sit in the Camden courthouse of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

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At this point, Biden has now put forward 20 names for federal judicial vacancies.

“President Biden has spent decades committed to strengthening the federal bench, which is why he continues to move at a historically fast pace with respect to judicial nominations,” the White House said Wednesday, noting that his first announcement of candidates for the judiciary “was made faster” than any new president “in modern American history,” adding that Wednesday’s announcement “further continues that trend.”

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