Judge Dana Douglas Becomes First Black Woman Confirmed To 5th Circuit Court Of Appeals

Judge Dana Douglas was confirmed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday, making her the first Black woman to serve on the court.

Reuters reports the Senate confirmed Douglas in a 65-31 vote, giving President Joe Biden his first appointment to the conservative court, which has consistently knocked down his policies. Douglas, who previously served as the U.S. Magistrate Judge of Louisiana, is the fourth active Democrat on a court with 12 judges nominated by Republican presidents.

Douglas’ confirmation makes her the third Black woman in the last two weeks the Senate, led by Democrats after the midterm elections, confirmed as a judge to the federal appeals courts, where Black women have long been missing. The other two judges confirmed to federal courts are Tamika Montgomery-Reeves and Doris Pryor.

Douglas’ appointment gives Biden a record of 11 Black women appointed as federal appellate judges. Before becoming a magistrate judge in New Orleans in 2019, Douglas spent 17 years as a partner at Liskow & Lewis, a New Orleans-based law firm.

Her path to confirmation was made easier as two of the state’s conservative senators, including John Kennedy, introduced her at her confirmation hearing earlier this summer. According to Fox News, Douglas will replace Judge James Dennis, who is retiring as an active judge and will have a reduced workload.

The court hears appeals from lower court cases in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi. The Black female judge has received numerous congratulations, including from the National Urban League (NUL).

“Dana Douglas was officially confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, making her the first Black woman to serve in this role,” NUL President and CEO Marc H. Morial said in a release.

“We thank President Biden for his continued leadership to ensure our courts reflect the rich diversity of our nation’s people, and members of the United States Senate that voted in favor of Judge Douglas’ nomination for their efforts to push this confirmation through.”