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Biden extends streak of new court picks as midterms draw near

For the third day in a row, the president announced a new slate of nominees to fill judicial vacancies.

WASHINGTON (CN) — President Joe Biden announced four new nominees to the federal bench Thursday, as well as three prospective judges to serve on local courts in the nation's capital.

The slew of nominees marked three days of back-to-back judicial nominations from the White House, with Biden aiming to fill court vacancies at a rapid pace as the midterms get closer. All judicial nominees require Senate confirmation before they ascend to the federal bench, a process that could get trickier if Democrats lose their majority in the tightly-divided chamber in November.

Among the new round of nominees is Justice Adrienne Nelson, Biden's pick to serve as a judge in the District of Oregon.

Nelson, currently an associate justice on the Oregon Supreme Court, would be the first Black woman to serve as a federal district judge in the Beaver State. She was previously a trial judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court and spent several years prior as an attorney for Portland State University and working in private practice for Bennett, Hartman, Morris & Kaplan.

At the start of her career, Nelson was a public defender with Multnomah Defenders, Inc. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law at Austin.

Biden also nominated Matthew Garcia to serve as a federal district judge for the District of New Mexico. Garcia is chief of staff to New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat. He previously served as Grisham's general counsel.

Before working for the governor's office, Garcia was a partner at Bach & Garcia and later, Garcia Ives Nowara in Albuquerque. At the start of his career, he was an associate at Freeman Boyd Daniels Hollander Goldberg & Ives before spending a year in private practice.

Garcia earned his undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico, his masters of public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and his law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Judge Andrew G. Schopler is Biden's nominee to serve as a district judge for the Southern District of California. A magistrate judge in the district since 2016, he is also a member of the United States Army Reserve and California National Guard.

Schopler spent more than a decade as an assistant U.S. attorney and has experience in private practice. He began his career as a solo practitioner and later spent time working at Rudolf and Maher in North Carolina. Schlopler earned his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and his law degree from Harvard Law School.

Another California-based nominee, Judge James Edward Simmons Jr., is slated to fill a vacancy on the District Court for the Southern District of California.

Simmons is a judge on the California Superior Court and is the supervising judge of the North County Branch of the San Diego Superior Court. He spent more than 10 years working as a deputy district attorney in the San Diego District Attorney's Office and spent a year as a deputy city attorney. Simmons earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and his law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law.

Biden also announced his intent to nominate Lindsay Jenkins to fill a seat as a district judge for the Northern District of Illinois.

Jenkins is a partner at Cooley LLP in Chicago and spent 15 years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the district she would be nominated to serve. She also worked for two years as an associate at Jones Day and began her career clerking for a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Jenkins earned her undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio and her law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University.

Along with the slate of federal judicial nominees, Biden announced three prospective judges to serve as local judges in Washington, D.C.

Vijay Shanker is nominated to serve on the D.C. Court of Appeals. Shanker has worked for more than 15 years as the deputy chief of the Appellate Section in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.

He previously held several roles within the department, including the title of senior litigation counsel for the department's criminal fraud work. Early on in his law career, Shanker was worked as an associate with Mayer Brown and with Covington & Burling. He also clerked for a judge on the Second Circuit. Shanker earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his law degree from University of Virginia School of Law.

Laura Crane and Veronica Sanchez are both nominated to serve on the D.C. Superior Court.

Crane is an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, a role she's held since 2014. She previously worked as senior associate at WilmerHale in Washington and as an associate at the New York City firm of Cravath, Swaine, and Moore. She also served as a law clerk on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Crane earned her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her law degree from the Washington University School of Law.

Sanchez is also an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington. She previously worked for the Department of Justice as a trial attorney in the antitrust division and spent time clerking on both the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. She earned her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her law degree from the UCLA School of Law.

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