Senate confirms first Biden judicial nominee

The Senate confirmed President Biden’s first judicial appointment on Tuesday, as Democrats look to counter the historic number of judges appointed during the prior administration.

Judge Julien Neals was confirmed to the U.S. District Court of New Jersey by a 66-to-33 vote.

Judge Neals had been nominated for a judicial vacancy under former President Barack Obama, but the Republican-led Senate at the time did not move forward with his nomination.

Senators also are expected to confirm on Tuesday corporate attorney Regina Rodriguez to the U.S. District Court of Colorado.

After Tuesday’s votes, Mr. Biden will have 16 judicial nominees awaiting confirmation — six for federal circuit court seats and 10 for district court judgeships.

Alliance for Justice, a progressive advocacy group, estimates that Mr. Biden will have 100 judicial vacancies to fill within his first two years in office.

“The Biden administration has made clear since even before inauguration that populating our courts with diverse, qualified judges is a top priority,” said Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice. “We fully expect these nominees to continue receiving broad bipartisan support given their exceptional records and commitments to equal justice.”

“We’re only just getting started,” Ms. Aron added.

The push for judicial confirmations from the left comes after former President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, when he served as Senate majority leader, made confirming federal judges for lifetime appointments a priority, hoping to give the federal judiciary a conservative bent.

Mr. Trump had three Supreme Court nominees, 54 circuit court appointees and 174 district judges placed on the bench during his four-year tenure.

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