Judges Mendoza and Lee Shine At Senate Hearing 

Press Release


WASHINGTON, D.C., May 11, 2022 – Today the Senate Judiciary Committee continued its important work of processing President Biden’s nominees to the federal courts. These five nominees are incredibly qualified and deserve swift confirmation to their seats. 

Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr., nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, has already served for eight years on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. He brings experience in criminal defense and has demonstrated a commitment to equal justice under the law as a judge, with rulings defending civil rights, workers’ rights, consumers’ rights, access to health care, and the environment. Judge Mendoza was the first Latino judge to serve in his current district and would be Washington’s first Latino judge to serve on the Ninth Circuit. 

Judge John Z. Lee, nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, similarly brings a decade of experience serving on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Prior to his nomination to the courts, Lee worked in private practice primarily in environmental law, employment and anti-trust litigation. As a judge, he has issued more than 800 opinions and has also sat by designation on the Seventh Circuit several times. Judge Lee has considered cases involving workers’ rights, the First Amendment, and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. He would be the first Asian-American judge to ever serve on the Seventh Circuit. 

Today’s hearing also featured the following three highly qualified district court nominees. We are especially excited to see the nomination of Nancy Maldonado, who has spent her career protecting the rights of workers. 

  • Stephen Henley Locher (Southern District of Iowa) 
  • Nancy L. Maldonado (Northern District of Illinois) 
  • Gregory B. Williams (District of Delaware) 

Alliance for Justice President Rakim H.D. Brooks issued the following statement: 

“Every step President Biden and Senate Democrats take toward filling the 119 lower court vacancies is absolutely crucial. As we’ve seen from the recent Supreme Court leak, it matters who is on our courts. That’s why we are proud to support Judges Mendoza and Lee. Both have consistently demonstrated a commitment to upholding the rights of all and equal justice under the law. They will also add important Latino and Asian-American visibility on our circuit courts, ensuring those courts better resemble and represent the people they serve. 

“At the same time, their promotions will open two new vacancies on our district courts that now will also need to be filled. Senate Republicans have promised to block all of President Biden’s nominees if given the opportunity. So it’s a race against the clock to see all of these lower court judges confirmed by the end of this year. Securing qualified judges committed to equal justice in all of the remaining vacancies is essential to protecting the health of our democracy.”