Of Biden's 40 Confirmed Federal Judges, 80 Percent Are Women, 53 Percent People of Color

President Joe Biden concluded his federal bench nominations on Thursday as he and fellow Democrats work to diversify the country's judiciary.

Biden has now nominated 75 judges to take up positions on federal courts around the country, the largest number of appointments made by a president since Ronald Reagan. Forty have already been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Most recently, he nominated Nancy Gbana Abudu for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and J. Michelle Childs for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Both women are Black and, if confirmed, would join a diverse group of Biden appointments, 80 percent of which are women and 53 percent of which are people of color.

Abudu graduated from Tulane University's law school in 1999 and would be the first Black woman to sit on the 11th Circuit court. She currently serves as the deputy legal director for strategic litigation at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Only one other Black judge, Charles Wilson, sits on the 12-person panel despite the circuit representing 8.5 million Black people across Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

"This is an extraordinary appointment," said Leslie Proll, the NAACP's senior adviser on judicial nominations. "Nancy Abudu's nomination addresses a breathtaking gap in representation on this Southern appellate bench. Her substantial voting rights expertise will be a welcome addition to this court, which has an outsized voting rights docket and is pivotal to protecting our democracy."

Childs currently serves as a U.S. District Court judge for South Carolina. She was originally appointed by former President Barack Obama to the position and received her law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

The nominations of Abudu and Childs still need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

J. Michelle Childs
Judge J. Michelle Childs, currently a U.S. District Court judge, has been nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Above, Childs, who was nominated by President Barack Obama to the U.S. District Court, listens during her nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on April 16, 2010. AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File

Former GOP president Donald Trump and then-Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pushed through a flurry of federal judges and three Supreme Court justices who will shape the courts for a generation.

Biden and the Democrats are working to counter with a rapid number of diverse nominations and confirmations. But that is stoking fears of the politicization of the judiciary, something judges roundly reject as they affirm their ability to be fair and impartial.

Abudu's deep experience in voting rights will be extremely relevant, White House officials and advocates say, especially considering the increasing challenges facing voters this year following a series of GOP-led restrictions. She would also be the first judge of color to sit on the court from Georgia, a state that was among the most critically watched during the 2020 elections.

With no Supreme Court opening to slow them, Biden and Senate Democrats are putting judges on federal trial and appellate courts at a much faster clip than any of Biden's recent predecessors, Trump included.

The Senate confirmed 18 circuit and district court judges in Trump's first year in office, and 12 in Obama's inaugural year.

Obama and Clinton, the last two Democratic presidents, were slow to move judicial nominations. But they both had early, time-consuming Supreme Court vacancies to deal with.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Biden ALS Law
U.S. President Joe Biden has now nominated 75 judges to take up positions on federal courts around the country, the largest number of appointments made by a president since Ronald Reagan. Above, Biden removes his face mask as he arrives to sign H.R. 3537, the Accelerating Access to Critical Therapies for ALS Act, in the South Court Auditorium of the White House complex on December 23 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images