Biden nominates nine top federal prosecutors; several historic firsts

2 minute read

U.S. President Joe Biden removes his face mask prior to receiving his coronavirus disease (COVID-19) booster vaccination in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building's South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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  • White House announces nine new U.S. attorney nominees
  • Biden has nominated 25 top federal prosecutors so far

(Reuters) - President Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated a slate of nine people to serve as U.S. attorneys, including several who, if confirmed, would become the first Black women to serve as the top federal prosecutors in their districts.

Biden has in total nominated 25 people to run some of the 93 U.S. attorneys' offices nationally. His latest picks would lead federal prosecutors' offices in Colorado, Hawaii, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Ohio, Vermont and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The White House said confirming the nominees was important to its efforts to combat gun violence and other violent crime. The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday reported that the number of murders in the United States jumped nearly 30% in 2020.

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Tuesday's nominees include Sandra Hairston, who has been the acting U.S. attorney in the Middle District of North Carolina since March, and Delia Smith, a longtime prosecutor nominated to run the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Virgin Islands.

Hairston and Smith would be the first Black women to hold their positions. Biden also nominated longtime prosecutor Dena King to become the first Black person to lead the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of North Carolina.

Biden nominated Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors to serve as the top federal prosecutor in her state and McGuireWoods partner Michael Easley to be the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, based in Raleigh.

Cole Finegan, the managing partner of Hogan Lovells' Denver office, is being nominated to serve as U.S. attorney in Colorado.

Biden's others picks include several longtime prosecutors, such as Zachary Cunha in Rhode Island, Nikolas Kerest in Vermont and Kenneth Parker for the Southern District of Ohio.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee last week advanced the first seven of Biden's U.S. attorney nominees. A floor vote on their nominations has yet to be scheduled.

The committee on Thursday will consider another, Rachael Rollins, Boston's progressive district attorney who would become the first Black woman to serve as Massachusetts' top federal prosecutor.

A vote on her nomination last week was delayed at the request of Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who contends Rollins' criminal reform policies have contributed to a rise in violent crime.

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Nate Raymond reports on the federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at nate.raymond@thomsonreuters.com.