Democrats’ Judicial Agenda Includes Nominating Civil Rights Lawyers and Public Defenders as Federal Judges, Streamlining Confirmations, and More

The Federal Docket

February 1, 2021
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According to recent reporting, President Biden and Democrats in the Senate have an agenda to counter the Trump Administration’s extensive (and successful) effort to fill the federal judiciary with as many young conservative jurists as possible. Indeed, President Trump appointed only one less circuit judge during his first and only term than Obama did in two terms, and he is credited with stocking at least a fourth of the federal judiciary with his picks.

Some speculate that President Biden may soon be able to nominate a Supreme Court justice, most likely replacing 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer once he retires. President Biden will also be able to nominate someone to the powerful D.C. Circuit once his pick for Attorney General, Judge Merrick Garland, is confirmed and vacates his position.

Beyond that, democrats are reportedly recruiting and vetting individuals for judgeships “whose legal experiences have been historically underrepresented on the federal bench,” such as civil rights lawyers, legal aid attorneys, and public defenders. Democrats are also forming a commission to “study structural change to the judiciary” and considering measures such as eliminating the “blue slip,” which lets individual senators veto certain nominees for judicial vacancies in their states. Senate Majority Leader Schumer has also called for adding more district courts, if not Supreme Court seats.

The first of President Biden’s nominations are tentatively scheduled to come in early Spring.

Click here to read the article at NBC News.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

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