Biden Confirmed As Many Black Women Circuit Court Judges As Previous Presidents Combined
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History in the Making—President Biden Confirmed As Many Black Women Circuit Court Judges As Previous Presidents Combined, More to Come

(Image: Courtesy African American Media, The White House)

In just a short time, President Joe Biden has already appointed as many Black women as circuit court judges as all prior administrations combined.

On Sept. 30, the President and Vice President attended the investiture ceremony for Associate Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

(Image: U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee / Wikimedia Commons)

Prior to the ceremony, the Senate also confirmed Arianna Freeman to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Thursday, Sept. 29. Freeman is the first woman of color ever to serve on that appellate court which means President Biden has had eight Black women circuit court judges confirmed in his first 21 months in office. With this, the 46th President has appointed the total number of Black women circuit court judges that have ever been previously appointed by all prior presidents combined.

Fun facts

President Biden has nominated 13 Black women to be circuit court judges — eight have been confirmed, and more are on the way.

(Image: Senator Durbin and US Government / Wikimedia Commons)

Some of the notable confirmations

– Judge Tiffany Cunningham became the first Black judge ever to serve on the Federal Circuit.

– Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi became the only woman of color actively serving on the Seventh Circuit — and just the second Black woman to serve on that court ever.

– Judge Eunice Lee became the only Black woman actively serving on the Second Circuit — and the second Black woman to serve on that court ever.

– Judge Holly Thomas became the first Black woman to serve on the Ninth Circuit from California — and became just the second active Black woman judge on that court, which has 29 active judges.

Pending nominees include Black women who would become the first to serve on the Third Circuit (Delaware Supreme Court Justice Tamika Montgomery-Reeves), the Fifth Circuit (Judge Dana Douglas), and the Eleventh Circuit (Nancy Abudu).

Black women confirmed as circuit court judges under President Biden

  1. D.C. Cir. (last year): now, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson
  2. Seventh Cir. (IL): Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi
  3. Federal Cir. (DC): Judge Tiffany Cunningham
  4. Second Cir. (NY): Judge Eunice Lee
  5. Ninth Cir. (CA): Judge Holly Thomas
  6. Sixth Cir. (MI): Judge Stephanie Davis
  7. D.C. Cir.: Judge Michelle Childs
  8. Third Cir. (PA): Arianna Freeman
UNITED STATES – MARCH 24: Ann Claire Williams, a member of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, testifies on the fourth day of the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Bidens nominee for Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, in Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, on Thursday, March 24, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Black women confirmed as circuit court judges under previous administrations

  1. Second Cir. (NY) Judge Amalya Kearse (appointed by Carter)
  2. D.C. Cir. Judge Judith Rogers (Clinton)
  3. Seventh Cir (IL) Judge Ann Williams (Clinton)
  4. Ninth Cir (NV) Judge Johnnie Rawlinson (Clinton)
  5. Fourth Cir (NC) Judge Allyson Duncan (G. W. Bush)
  6. D.C. Cir. Judge Janice Rogers Brown (G. W. Bush)
  7. First Cir. RI Judge O. Rogieree Thompson (Obama)
  8. Sixth Cir. TN Judge Bernice Donald (Obama)


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