Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a Black woman, counted among the 11 judicial candidates President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he plans to nominate for vacant federal court seats.
Jackson, who has served on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia since 2013, is the president’s nomination for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Biden’s nominees include three African American women for appeals court vacancies.
If confirmed by the Senate, one of the nominees would become the first Muslim to serve as a federal judge. Another nominee would be the first Asian-American woman to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The nominations also include a justice who would become the first woman of color to serve as a federal judge in Maryland.
“This trailblazing slate of nominees draws from the very best and brightest minds of the American legal profession,” Biden said. “Each is deeply qualified and prepared to deliver justice faithfully under our Constitution and impartially to the American people — and together they represent the broad diversity of background, experience, and perspective that makes our nation strong.”
Before joining the federal bench, Jackson served as vice chair of the United States Sentencing Commission beginning in 2010.
Jackson began her legal career as a law clerk for Judge Patti Saris on the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts from 1996 to 1997 and then for Judge Bruce Selya on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from 1997 to 1998.
Judge Tiffany P. Cunningham, the president’s nomination for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the federal circuit, has been a partner at Perkins Coie LLP in Chicago since 2014.
She is a member of the Patent Litigation practice and serves on the 17-member Executive Committee of the firm.
Cunningham serves as trial and appellate counsel for large multinational companies, small enterprises, and individuals in complex patent and trade secret disputes.
Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, the nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, is a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder, LLP Washington, D.C., where she focuses on complex civil litigation, white-collar criminal defense and investigations.
From 2010 to 2020, Jackson-Akiwumi worked as a staff attorney at the Federal Defender Program in the Northern District of Illinois. Jackson-Akiwumi represented more than 400 indigent clients accused of federal crimes at every stage of the process, from investigation to trial, sentencing and appeal.
Rounding out the nominations are Judge Lydia Griggsby for the United States District Court for the District of Maryland; Julien Neals, a county counsel and county administrator in New Jersey, for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey; Judge Florence Y. Pan, for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia; Judge Zahid N. Quraishi, for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey; Regina Rodriguez, a lawyer, for the United States District Court for the District of Colorado; Attorney Margaret Strickland, for the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico; and Judge Rupa Ranga Puttagunta, for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.