Latest Judicial Slate Renews Commitment To Diverse, Qualified Judges

Press Release


Press Contact


Zack Ford
zack.ford@afj.org
202-464-7370

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 8, 2021 – President Biden has announced his seventh slate of judicial nominees, continuing the trend of nominating federal judges that are both eminently qualified and bring demographic and professional diversity to the bench. 

Among the nominees is Judge Lucy Koh to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Koh currently serves as a federal district judge in the Northern District of California. At the time of that appointment, she was the first district court judge of Korean descent in the country, the first female Korean-American judge, and only the second Korean-American judge in the country. Upon her confirmation to the Ninth Circuit, she would become the first Korean-American to serve as a federal appellate judge and only be the second AAPI woman to serve on the Ninth Circuit from California. 

Justice Gabriel P. Sanchez, another nominee to the Ninth Circuit, currently serves as an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal. In addition to his experience as a judge, Sanchez has extensive experience in civil litigation and has been lauded for his legal advocacy on behalf of farm workers. 

Rounding out the Ninth Circuit nominees is Judge Holly Thomas, who currently serves as a judge in the Family Law Division of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Her resume contains exceptional experience as a civil rights litigator, including serving as Deputy Director of Executive Programs at the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, as an appellate attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and as Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She would become the first Black woman to serve on the Ninth Circuit from California and the second Black woman to ever serve on that court. 

President Biden’s district court nominees also include a wide swath of professional and demographic diversity. For example, both Judge Hernán Vera (Central District of California) and David Urias (District of New Mexico) have experience as civil rights litigators with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). Judge Katherine Menendez (District of Minnesota) has extensive experience as a public defender. Judge Jennifer Thurston (Eastern District of California), already a sitting U.S. Magistrate Judge, has experience in civil litigation. And Judge Maame Frimpong, a Department of Justice veteran currently serving on the Los Angeles County Superior Court, would become the only Black woman sitting on any of California’s federal district courts. 

Alliance for Justice President Rakim Brooks issued the following statement: 

“The White House’s latest nominees are simply outstanding. They are professionally diverse, they come from a diverse array of backgrounds, and their clients and the litigants that have appeared before them represent the full range of American identities and experiences. This is exactly the kind of slate AFJ advocated for at the beginning of this presidential administration, and these are exactly the kind of candidates that we hope to see President Biden continue to appoint to the federal bench across our country.  Our justice system is well served to have judges who have served as public defenders and civil rights litigators. We applaud the senators who recommended these diverse and unquestionably qualified nominees, and we urge the Senate to confirm them as soon as possible.”