U.S. Senate confirms Biden judicial pick Davis for 6th Circuit seat

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Stephanie Dawkins Davis, a nominee to serve as a judge on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, appears before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C., on March 2, 2022. U.S. Senate/Handout via REUTERS

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  • U.S. Senate confirms Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis to serve on 6th Circuit
  • Davis will be second Black woman on 6th Circuit

(Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted to promote U.S. District Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis to be a federal appeals court judge and become only the second Black woman to serve on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The 49-43 vote to elevate the Flint, Michigan-based judge to the 6th Circuit came amid a continued push by Senate Democrats to confirm as many of Biden's judicial nominees as possible before the November midterm elections.

Republicans Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins on Maine joined with Democrats to support the former federal prosecutor, who former President Donald Trump first nominated to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in 2019.

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The nomination of the then-federal magistrate judge by Biden's Republican predecessor followed months of negotiations by the White House and Michigan's two Democratic senators, Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, who supported Davis.

Davis in a statement called it the "honor of my life" to have been nominated and confirmed to the 6th Circuit. "My life's work has been in service of the cause of justice and I will endeavor to faithfully execute this cause," she said.

She will be the first Black woman from Michigan to serve on the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit, which hears appeals from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, and will succeed U.S. Circuit Judge Helene White, who is taking senior status.

Since Biden took office in 2021, 63 of his 92 circuit and district court nominees have won confirmation. Democrats, cognizant of the risk that they could lose their 50-50 control of the Senate in the midterms, are preparing for even more votes.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has teed up votes on three more district court nominees in Colorado, New Jersey and New York.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday will vote on advancing up to five more, including U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs, a nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit who Biden had considered for the U.S. Supreme Court.

The committee in February advanced Biden's other nominee to the 6th Circuit, Butler Snow partner Andre Mathis, though no floor vote have been scheduled.

(NOTE: This story has been updated with a comment from Stephanie Dawkins Davis.)

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U.S. Senate panel advances first Biden appellate pick using Trump-era strategy

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