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Senate set to confirm 200th Biden judge as Democrats tout “major milestone”

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Senate set to confirm 200th Biden judge as Democrats tout “major milestone”

Washington — The Senate on Wednesday is set to confirm President Biden’s 200th judicial nominee, surpassing the number of appointments to the federal judiciary made by his two most recent predecessors at this point in their presidencies.

The Senate will mark the milestone after its approval of Krissa Lanham on Tuesday and with the vote on Angela Martinez’s confirmation Wednesday to seats on the federal district court in Arizona. With the confirmations of the nominees to the federal bench, Mr. Biden will have placed 42 judges on the U.S. courts of appeals, 155 judges on the U.S. district courts and two on the Court of International Trade. He also named Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court in 2022, a history-making nomination as she became the first ****** woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.

There are 43 current open seats on the federal judiciary, and another 28 future vacancies,

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. Mr. Biden has two dozen nominees pending. The country has more than 860 authorized judgeships. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the confirmations a “major milestone,” saying on the Senate floor on Monday in preparation for the votes that “it’s a figure — 200 — that we can all be proud of, and shows how intensely focused we are on filling the bench with jurists who will make our democracy stronger and uphold the rule of law.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer chats with Sen. ***** Durbin on the House floor ahead of the annual State of the Union address by President Biden on March 7, 2024, in Washington, DC

Shawn Thew / Getty Images

Mr. Biden’s judicial appointments have slightly outpaced former President Donald Trump’s at this point in his fourth year in office. But surpassing the 234 judges Trump named to the federal bench during his first and sole term may be difficult given the Senate’s schedule in the run-up to the November election, since several Democratic senators in states won by Trump in 2020 are working to hold on to their seats and are likely to spend the coming months on the campaign trail. 

“I think it’s pretty substantial when you consider what we’ve been up against,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman ***** Durbin told CBS News of the milestone, noting the makeup of the narrowly divided Senate and the one-vote Democratic advantage in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which considers the president’s nominations. The Senate consists of 48 Democrats, 49 Republicans and three independents who typically vote with Democrats. A simple majority, 51 votes, is needed to confirm a judicial nominee. 

Though Durbin cheered the Senate’s work in confirming Mr. Biden’s judicial nominees, he explained why it would be hard to match or surpass the number confirmed during the Trump administration. 

“It’s tough because Trump had a spurt there at the end when they gave him a package, I think there were a dozen judges in that package, maybe more,” Durbin added. “If we can get that kind of treatment from Sen. McConnell, I think we can reach it.”

The focus on judicial nominees sharpened under Trump, as he sought to reshape the federal judiciary, and his appointments to the Supreme Court may be the most enduring and consequential actions of his presidency. Trump named three justices to the nation’s highest court, widening its ************* majority to 6-3. Since the end of his administration in January 2021, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and ended affirmative action in higher education, and is poised to issue rulings curtailing federal regulatory power in the coming weeks.

Mr. Biden has emphasized diversity in his judicial nominees, including in the professional backgrounds of those the president has picked to serve. 

The White House has

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new rounds of judicial nominees that the president’s picks fulfill his “promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country — both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds.”

By his first six months in office, Mr. Biden matched Obama’s number of nominees to the federal appellate courts who worked as public defenders. Additionally, among the president’s confirmed judges, more than 60% are women and over 60% are people of ******,

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The president also appointed the first ******* ********* federal judge in U.S. history, Zahid Quraishi, to the federal district court in New Jersey.

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