Biden Unveils Second Round of Federal Court Nominees

Thursday’s announcement brings the president’s total number of judicial nominees to 14, a pace the White House called historic for the first 100 days.

President Joe Biden speaks about Covid-19 on the North Lawn of the White House on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (CN) — President Joe Biden is once again getting praise from progressive justice groups after announcing another round of judges he hopes will fill district court vacancies. 

The three nominees unveiled Thursday – the president’s 100th day in office – include labor and immigration attorneys and an alumni of a state poverty law program. The announcement comes a month after Biden put forth his first round of 11 judicial nominees.

“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 a statement announcing the new nominees. “Last month’s announcement of his intent to nominate 11 individuals was faster than any president in modern history, and today’s announcement continues that trend.”

Judge David Estudillo, currently the presiding judge of the Grant County Superior Court in Ephrata, Washington, was nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. He ran a private immigration law firm for a decade before being appointed to the state court in 2015. 

Tana Lin, an attorney with Keller Rohrback LLP in Seattle, has also been chosen for a Western District of Washington seat. Lin started her legal career in the District of Columbia’s Public Defender Service before rising to the level of senior trial attorney at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Chicago office. She then became litigation coordinator at the Michigan Poverty Law Program before moving to Washington state. 

Christine O’Hearn is Biden’s third and final nominee announced Thursday She’d take a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey if confirmed by the Senate. O’Hearn has focused on labor and employment litigation since the 1990s and also had a short stint as an adjunct professor at the Rutgers University School of Law in Camden. She’s currently a partner at Brown & Connery LLP.

“This is exactly the kind of experiential diversity the courts need more of!” the Alliance for Justice, a progressive group hoping to push the makeup of the federal judiciary to the left, said in a tweet Thursday morning.

The group similarly praised Biden when he announced his first round of 11 nominees on March 30.  The new picks also adhere to Biden’s promise to diversify the federal bench, a pledge he made repeatedly on the campaign trail and while in office.   

“The federal judiciary should reflect the proud diversity of the nation, both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds,” the White House statement said. 

The three nominees announced Thursday still need to be approved by a simple majority of the Senate. Democrats control the evenly split chamber thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held confirmation hearings for five of Biden’s first 11 nominees. Republican senators grilled them about expanding the Supreme Court and how their professional and racial backgrounds might impact their decision-making.

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