Biden names 3 picks for Ninth Circuit, 5 for other courts, stressing diversity: reports

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President Biden on Wednesday disclosed the names of eight judicial nominees, including three picks for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The choices for the Ninth Circuit were intended to address a Biden pledge to add diversity to the judicial branch of government, a White House news release said, according to the Washington Times.

Nominated for the San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit were Judge Lucy Koh, currently a district judge in Northern California; Justice Gabriel Sanchez, currently an associate justice on the California First District Court of Appeal; and Los Angeles County Judge Holly Thomas, according to the Times.

Thomas, if confirmed, would become the second Black woman to serve on the Ninth Circuit, The Hill reported, while Koh would become the first Korean-American federal appellate judge.

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The other five Biden picks announced Wednesday: Los Angeles County Judge Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong was nominated to the Central District of California; Magistrate Judge Katherine Marie Menendez was selected for the District of Minnesota; Magistrate Judge Jennifer Thurston was named for the Eastern District of California; David Herrera Urias, an Albuquerque attorney, was chosen for the District of New Mexico; and Los Angeles County Judge Hernan Vera was nominated to the Central District of California, the newspaper reported. 

The group of eight nominees marked Biden’s seventh round of judicial choices since taking office in January, The Hill reported.

Biden so far has nominated a total of 43 candidates to become federal judges, the Times reported.

His predecessor, former President Donald Trump, nominated more than 200 candidates to judgships during his term, according to The Hill.

Liberal groups hailed Biden’s latest selections, which included a total of three Latino nominees.

“The inclusion of three extremely well-qualified Latino nominees, each with a track record of supporting civil rights, and two of whom spent part of their exemplary legal careers at MALDEF, demonstrates the Biden Administration’s commitment to including judges in our federal system beyond the usual former prosecutors and big-firm partners,” Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF, said in a statement following the announcement, according to The Hill.

MALDEF is the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Christopher Kang, chief counsel at the progressive group Demand Justice, praised Biden for the nominees who have experience in civil rights law.

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“By nominating lawyers with experience standing up for civil rights, consumers, and people accused of crimes, the administration is building on its clear commitment to improving professional diversity on a bench dominated by former prosecutors and corporate lawyers,” Kang said, according to The Hill.

As of August, Biden was outpacing Trump in having his judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate, The Hill reported. Biden had nine appointees confirmed by Aug. 8, compared to Trump’s five, the report said.

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