Biden nominates 10 more federal judges amid diversity push

U.S. President Joe Biden responds to a question from a reporter after speaking about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines and booster shots in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
  • White House picks include Dale Ho of the ACLU in New York
  • Biden has nominated 53 federal judges in total

BOSTON, Sept 30 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden on Thursday continued his push to bring greater diversity to the federal judiciary with 10 new nominees to the bench, picking several people of color and civil rights lawyers for U.S. district court seats.

The nominations, the eighth set by Biden since the Democrat entered the White House, brought the total number of nominees by his administration to 53. He has sought to diversify the bench in terms of both the personal and professional backgrounds of judges.

The nominees include Dale Ho, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Voting Rights Project, who would be the only active Asian American judge on the Manhattan-based U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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He helped litigate against former President Donald Trump's failed effort to exclude immigrants living illegally in the United States from the Census count. Ho previously worked at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and as an associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson.

Three of the district court nominees -- Charles Fleming for the Northern District of Ohio, Linda Lopez for the Southern District of California and Victoria Calvert for the Northern District of Georgia -- are current or former public defenders.

Fleming would be the second Black judge on his court. Lopez, today a federal magistrate judge, was nominated to her court alongside Superior Court Judge Jinsook Ohta, who would be the first Asian American woman district court judge on that court.

Washington Court of Appeals Judge John Chun was nominated to become the first Asian American judge in the Western District of Washington. U.S. Magistrate Judge David Ruiz was nominated to a seat in the Northern District of Ohio and would be the state's first Hispanic district court judge.

Overall, 32 of Biden's 53 judicial nominees have been women, including six on Thursday.

In the Atlanta-based Northern District of Georgia, Biden also nominated Sarah Geraghty, a civil rights lawyer with the Law Office of the Southern Center for Human Rights.

Biden also nominated federal prosecutor Bridget Meehan Brennan to be a judge in the Northern District of Ohio and Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell partner Samantha Elliott be a judge in New Hampshire.

So far, 14 of Biden's judicial nominees have won Senate approval, amid a rush by Democrats to shape the judiciary and counter the influence of Trump's near-record 234 appointments while they maintain their narrow control of the chamber.

Biden on Tuesday also announced four nominations to the District of Columbia's trial and appellate courts, including Loren AliKhan, D.C.'s solicitor general since 2018.

Related stories:

Biden judicial picks win Senate backing at pace not seen since Nixon

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

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Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston

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