Washington D.C., is the land of gridlock. President Joe Biden’s agenda is imperiled by both obstinate Republicans wielding the filibuster and progressives who are trying to push him further left.
But in one important realm, Biden is moving at historic speed: reshaping the courts.
On Wednesday, the White House announced eight new federal judicial nominations. It’s Biden’s fifth wave of nominees. In total, he’s sent 32 names to the Senate for confirmation. Among them are non-traditional picks like public defenders, civil rights attorneys and labor lawyers. Diversity has been prized – many of the nominees are women of color.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has used his slim majority in the Senate to shepherd the picks through the upper chamber – so far seven have been confirmed. “We’ve done it with judges who break the federal mold,” Schumer said last week. “They make me proud that we are constantly expanding who in America can get to the bench.”
CNN provides more context:
That number  is notable for its historical context: It puts Biden on the fastest pace for judicial confirmations in a first presidential term in more than 50 years. The last president to have seven confirmations by this point was Richard Nixon in 1969, according to a White House official.
The Trump administration filled over 230 spots on the federal bench. The vast majority of them were white males with corporate backgrounds.
According to a White House press release, Wednesday’s picks include:
- A woman who would be the first federal judge of South Asian descent in Michigan
- A labor lawyer and former union organizer who would also be the first AAPI judge from Oregon on the Ninth Circuit
- An Assistant U.S. Attorney who would be the second woman of color to ever serve on the federal bench in Virginia
- A former prosecutor with the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section who would be the first Hispanic judge on the Court of Federal Claims