Thirteenth Slate Of Judicial Nominees Propels 2022 Momentum

Press Release

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Carolyn Bobb

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 19, 2022 – Today, President Biden ;announced his thirteenth slate of judicial nominees, and the first slate of 2022. The White House’s most recent slate of nominees shows that President Biden ;is continuing his historic march to rebalancing the federal judiciary with exceptionally qualified, demographically and professionally diverse judges. Additionally, this thirteenth slate of nominees includes several nominees representing significant historic new milestones for demographic representation on our courts.

Arianna J. Freeman, a public defender from Philadelphia, would be the first Black woman — and first non-white woman — to ever serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. (Sen. Pat Toomey previous blocked the nomination of Rebecca Haywood, another Black woman nominated by President Obama.) Ms. Freeman, who is an exceptionally qualified nominee, is currently a Managing Attorney with the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, an agency she has served in various capacities since 2009. She previously clerked for Judge C. Darnell Jones II and Judge James T. Giles on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. 

Nusrat Jahan Choudhury, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, would make history as the first Bangladeshi-American, the first Muslim-American woman, and only the second Muslim-American person to serve as a federal judge. She currently serves as the Legal Director of the ACLU of Illinois, and previously served as a senior staff attorney for the ACLU of New York’s Racial Justice Program. Her work has focused largely on reforming the criminal legal system and policing. 

Judge Ana Isabel de Alba, who currently serves as a California Superior Court Judge on the Superior Court of Fresno County, would be the first Latina to ever serve as a district court judge on the Eastern District of California — and she would be only the second Hispanic judge to serve on that court. Prior to becoming a judge, her private practice focused on employment, business, tort, and construction litigation. 

The list also includes civil rights champions like Tiffany M. Cartwright, who has been nominated for the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. An exceptionally qualified nominee, Ms. Cartwright has extensive experience in civil rights litigation and currently serves as a partner at the civil rights law firm MacDonald Hoague & Bayless. Additionally, Ms. Cartwright previously served as a clerk for Judge Betty B. Fletcher on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  

President Biden also nominated civil rights champion Natasha Merle, who dedicated the majority of her legal career to public interest law and public defense, having served as the Deputy Director of Litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and as an assistant federal public defender. Judges with such civil rights backgrounds remain severely underrepresented on our courts, and nominees like Ms. Cartwright and Ms. Merle are incredibly significant, and historic, nominees for their respective courts. 

Judge Nina Nin-Yuen Wang, who currently serves as a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Colorado, was also nominated, and would be only the second Asian-American individual to serve on the United States District Court for the District of Colorado (the first having been confirmed just last year). 

A total of eight new nominees were announced, bringing President Biden’s total nominations to 83. 

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

“It is encouraging to see the White House kicking off 2022 with another slate of nominees dedicated to the principle of equal justice for all and upholding the rule of law. Simply put, this slate of nominees represents a paradigm shift in the composition and character of our federal courts. By nominating two additional public defenders and three of the nation’s leading civil rights experts to the federal bench, President Biden is showing the country what the future of the justice system can and should be. 

“It is critically important that President Biden and Senate Democrats continue with their historic pace of nominating and confirming these exceptional nominees, many with unconventional backgrounds, to ensure that every lower court vacancy is filled by 2023. Our courts are overwhelmed with ever expanding caseloads, creating a significant barrier for working families’ access to justice. There are still over 100 current vacancies on our federal courts, and we desperately need to expand our lower courts so they can adequately manage these caseloads. Thanks to the incredible work of Chair Durbin and Majority Leader Schumer to move these nominees through the Senate, last year’s historic run of judicial nominations and confirmations shows it will be possible to fill these vacancies by the end of this year. Trust in our Supreme Court may be degrading rapidly, but judges like these across our lower courts give us hope for the future of our justice system.”