Senate set to confirm 200th Biden judge as Democrats tout 'major milestone'

Washington — The Senate will confirm President Biden's 200th judicial nominee on Wednesday, surpassing the number of appointments to the federal judiciary made by his two most recent predecessors at this point in their presidencies.

The Senate will mark the milestone after approving Krissa Lanham on Tuesday and voting on Wednesday to confirm Angela Martinez for seats on the federal district court in Arizona. With the confirmation of the nominees to the federal court, Mr. Biden will have placed 42 judges on the U.S. courts of appeals, 155 judges on the U.S. district courts and two on the Court of International Trade. He also appointed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court in 2022 history-making nomination when she became the first black woman to serve on the nation's highest court.

There are currently 43 open seats in the federal judiciary, with another 28 future vacancies. according to the American courts. Mr. Biden has two dozen nominees pending. The country has more than 860 competent judges.

Calling the confirmations an “important milestone,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday in preparation for Senate votes that “it's a number — 200 — we can all be proud of, and shows how intensely focused We are filling the court with lawyers who will make our democracy stronger and uphold the rule of law.”

President Biden delivers State of the Union address
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer talks with Senator Dick Durbin on the floor of the House of Representatives prior to President Biden's annual State of the Union address on March 7, 2024 in Washington, DC.

Shawn Thew/Getty Images


Mr. Biden's appointments, currently in his fourth year in office, are slightly larger than those of former President Donald Trump. But it could be difficult to top the 234 judges Trump appointed to the federal court during his first and only term, given the Senate's schedule ahead of the November election, as several Democratic senators were elected in 2020 by Trump. won states are working to hold on. to their seats and will likely campaign in the coming months.

“I think it's quite substantial when you think about what we've had to deal with,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin told CBS News of the milestone, detailing the makeup of the closely divided Senate and Democratic advantage of one vote in the Senate judiciary. Commission, which reviews the president's appointments. The Senate consists of 48 Democrats, 49 Republicans and three independents who usually vote with the Democrats. A simple majority, 51 votes, is needed to confirm a judicial nominee.

While Durbin applauded the Senate's work in confirming Mr. Biden's judicial nominees, he explained why it would be difficult to match or exceed the number confirmed during the Trump administration.

“It's hard because Trump had a spurt at the end when they gave him a package. I think there were a dozen judges in that package, maybe more,” Durbin added. “If we can get that kind of treatment from Senator McConnell, I think we can achieve that.”

The focus on judicial nominees was sharpened under Trump, as he tried reform the federal judiciary, and his appointments to the Supreme Court are perhaps the most lasting and consequential acts of his presidency. Trump appointed three justices to the nation's highest court, expanding the conservative majority to 6-3. Since the end of his reign in January 2021, the Supreme Court has done so overturned Roe v. Wade And ended positive discrimination in higher educationand is ready to make statements limiting federal regulatory power in the coming weeks.

Mr. Biden has emphasized the diversity among his judicial nominees, including: in the professional backgrounds of those the president has chosen to serve.

The White House has emphasized in the announcement new rounds of judicial nominees whose choice will fulfill the president's “pledge to ensure that the nation's courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country – both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds.”

During his first six months in office, Mr. Biden matched Obama's number of nominees with federal appeals courts serving as public defenders. Additionally, among the president's confirmed judges, more than 60% are women and more than 60% are people of color. according to the White House.

The chairman too named the first Muslim-American federal judge in American history, Zahid Quraishi, in federal district court in New Jersey.

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