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With judicial nominee, Biden prepares to shift balance of Third Circuit bench

Biden nominated a Third Circuit judge to one of two vacancies on the court, setting him up to shift the ideological balance of the panel.

WASHINGTON (CN) — President Joe Biden announced two new nominees to the federal bench Tuesday, including a Third Circuit nominee who will begin to fill one of two vacancies on the bench and shift the balance of the circuit court to a panel made up evenly of Republican and Democratic appointees.

Justice Tamika Renee Montgomery-Reeves, a justice on the Delaware Supreme Court, is the president's pick to serve on the Philadelphia-based federal court of appeals.

She was the first Black judge to serve on Delaware's highest court and is slated to fill one of two vacancies on the Third Circuit.

George W. Bush appointee Judge D. Brooks Smith took senior status last year and days later, Judge Thomas Ambro, a Bill Clinton appointee, announced his plans to soon do the same, giving Biden several vacancies on the appeals court.

Montgomery-Reeves is likely to replace Ambro, who was also from Delaware, but her nomination sets Biden up to nominate another Third Circuit judge and rebalance the court into a bench with the same number of Republican and Democratic appointed judges.

Before serving as a state supreme court jurist, Montgomery-Reeves was a vice chancellor on the Delaware Court of Chancery, the state's non-jury equity trial court.

She spent several years as an attorney in private practice, including as a partner at the business law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and as an associate with Weil Gotshal & Manges in New York.

Montgomery-Reeves earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi and her law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law.

Biden also nominated Judge Frances Kay Behm to the federal bench Tuesday, selecting Behm to serve as a district court judge for the Eastern District of Michigan.

For more than a decade, Behm has served as a judge for the Genesee County Circuit Court and Genesee County Probate Court, located in central Michigan.

Before she became a judge, Behm spent a year as a solo practitioner and more than a decade as an associate with Winegarden, Haley, Lindeholm & Robertson, a law firm in Flint, Michigan.

Behm began her legal career as an associate with the firm of Braun Kendrick Finbeiner in Saginaw, Michigan.

She earned her undergraduate degree from Albion College and her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

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