Biden's pick to succeed U.S. Supreme Court's Jackson on D.C. Circuit advances in Senate

Florence Y. Pan, nominee to be United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 22, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger
  • Senate judiciary panel advances D.C. Circuit nominee Pan
  • Senate earlier this week confirmed D.C. Circuit nominee J. Michelle Childs

(Reuters) - A U.S. Senate panel on Thursday advanced U.S. District Judge Florence Pan's nomination to fill a seat on the influential federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. that was recently vacated by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-9 to clear the way for the full Senate to consider Pan for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, after President Joe Biden nominated her in May.

Pan's nomination to the D.C. Circuit marks the second time Biden has picked her to fill a seat vacated by Jackson, the Supreme Court's first Black woman justice, after selecting Pan in 2021 to succeed Jackson as a district court judge in D.C.

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the panel's top Republican, joined with GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of Iowa and 11 Democrats to advance Pan, though Grassley said he would decide after "further study" how to vote on her on the Senate floor.

The committee also voted 15-7 to elevate U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Hanes, a former public defender, to a district court judgeship in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The D.C. Circuit is considered by many to be the second most important court after the Supreme Court, thanks to a docket filled with cases concerning government decisions and regulations.

The Senate in September confirmed Pan on a 68-30 vote to become the first Asian-American woman judge on the federal district court in Washington, D.C.

The Stanford Law School graduate before that had served on the D.C. Superior Court since 2009 and was earlier a federal prosecutor and appellate attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Thursday's vote came two days after the Senate confirmed another of Biden's nominees to the D.C. Circuit, U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs of South Carolina, who Biden had earlier considered to succeed Breyer on the Supreme Court.

If Pan and another D.C. Circuit nominee, Brad Garcia, are confirmed, the D.C. Circuit would have seven Democratic president-appointed judges and four Republican appointees.

Read more:

U.S. Senate confirms Childs for seat on key D.C. appeals court

Biden moves to fill key appellate seat vacated by U.S. Supreme Court's Jackson

Biden pick Pan confirmed as first Asian American woman on D.C. federal court

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