Senate Judiciary Committee Advances 12 of President Biden’s Judicial Nominees

Press Release


WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2021 – Today the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance the nominations of twelve federal judges, including two nominees to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: Judge Holly Thomas and Justice Gabriel P. Sanchez. 

Judge Thomas currently serves on the Los Angeles County Superior Court, where she has presided over hundreds of cases that have gone to verdict or judgment and overseen thousands more hearings. This year, she has served as a judge pro tem on the California Second District Court of Appeal. Prior to serving as a judge, Thomas had experience as a civil rights attorney, a prosecutor, a litigator, a criminal law attorney, a civil law attorney, a state law practitioner, and a federal law practitioner. 

Justice Sanchez was the first Latino ever appointed to the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, where he currently sits. He has ruled in over 500 cases. Prior to his time on the court, Justice Sanchez had a wide array of legal experience, including spending time as a clerk on Ninth Circuit. As a lawyer, Justice Sanchez maintained an active pro bono practice representing disadvantaged and indigent clients, earning the ACLU’s Social Justice Award in 2010. 

The district court nominees included some incredibly diverse and exceptionally qualified future judges: 

  • Hernán D. Vera (Central District of California) 
  • Charlotte Sweeney (District of Colorado) 
  • Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong (Central District of California) 
  • Jennifer L. Thurston (Eastern District of California) 
  • Mary Katherine Dimke (Eastern District of Washington) 
  • David Herrera Urias (District of New Mexico) 
  • Katherine Marie Menendez (District of Minnesota) 
  • Linda Lopez (Southern District of California) 
  • Jinsook Ohta (Southern District of California) 
  • Samantha D. Elliott (District of New Hampshire) 

Tie votes on the nominations of Holly Thomas, Charlotte Sweeney, and Hernán D. Vera will require the additional step of discharge petitions before they can receive their final floor votes. 

Alliance for Justice Legal Director Daniel Goldberg issued the following statement: 

“Today’s Senate Judiciary Committee action was significant for all those who care about equal justice. Just one day after a hearing on civil rights champions like Dale Ho and Sarah Gerahty, the Committee advanced 12 eminently qualified judicial nominees who reflect the incredible demographic, experiential, and professional diversity of our nation.  

“What remarkable nominees! The three nominees uniformly opposed by the committee’s Republican members are quintessential examples of what our courts need. Judge Holly Thomas spent her career advancing the cause of civil rights; Judge Hernán Vera has been on the front lines fighting for equal justice for all; and Charlotte Sweeney brings historic LGBTQ+ representation and experience representing everyday Americans in court. The list goes on and on. We applaud Chairman Durbin and all Democratic members of the Committee for their leadership. We are likewise confident that Leader Schumer and the entire Senate will confirm these, and all pending nominees, before the year is out.”