Biden smashes one-week judicial nominees record with 5 new picks

U.S. President Joe Biden reacts as he attends the the opening ceremony of the Maccabiah in Jerusalem
U.S. President Joe Biden reacts as he attends the the opening ceremony of the Maccabiah in Jerusalem July 14, 2022. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/Pool
  • Biden nominates five district court judges in California, Illinois, Oregon and New Mexico
  • Nominee would be first Black woman on district court in Oregon

BOSTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden on Thursday announced five new federal judicial nominees, shattering his record for nominations made in one week, as progressives pressure the White House and Senate Democrats to pick up the pace for filling vacancies before November's midterms.

The latest batch of nominees include selections for district courts in California, Illinois, Oregon and New Mexico, though Biden once again did not move ahead with a controversial plan to name Chad Meredith, a Republican abortion opponent, to a judgeship in Kentucky.

The slate was the third unveiled this week by the Democratic president. In total, he has made 16 nominations to the district and circuit courts since Tuesday, which the progressive group Demand Justice called a one-week record for his presidency.

The latest nominees include two for the San Diego-based U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Schopler and San Diego Superior Court Judge James Simmons.

Both are former prosecutors, as is Biden's latest planned nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Lindsay Jenkins, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago and current partner at the law firm Cooley.

Lindsay Jenkins. Courtesy Cooley

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson was nominated to become the first Black woman to serve on Oregon's federal district court. Matthew Garcia, the chief of staff to Democratic New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, if confirmed would join his state's district court.

Biden has since January 2021 announced 123 federal judicial nominees.

Progressive groups have called on Biden and Senate Democrats to move more quickly to fill 120 other judicial vacancies before Republicans can potentially retake the chamber in November's midterm elections.

The Senate on Thursday voted for the 69th time to confirm a Biden judicial nominee by elevating U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Locher to be a district court judge in Southern Iowa.

Not on Biden's latest nominees list was Meredith, a Republican former Kentucky solicitor general who the White House planned on June 24 to nominate to a judgeship despite having defended abortion restrictions.

That day, though, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision recognizing a nationwide right to abortions, and the nomination did not occur as planned.

The White House has declined to say if it will proceed later, despite outrage by progressives. Democrats say a Meredith nomination appears to be part of a potential deal with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Read more:

Biden's six newest judicial nominees include Hispanic, LGBTQ firsts

Biden nominates 5 new judges, but not Republican abortion opponent

Biden planned to nominate anti-abortion judge day before U.S. Supreme Court ruling -emails

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Nate Raymond reports on the federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at