The Leadership Conference Statement on the 200th Lifetime Judicial Confirmation During the Biden Administration

Courts News 05.22.24

Contact: Patrick McNeil, [email protected]

WASHINGTONMaya Wiley, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement after the Senate’s 200th lifetime judicial confirmation during the Biden administration:

“The 200th lifetime judicial confirmation during this administration is an important milestone to celebrate and a call to action to make more progress. We must urgently build an equal justice judiciary that works for all of us. We deserve a judiciary that upholds civil rights and the Constitution. This moment is about having a judiciary with more judges who are highly qualified and historically diverse, both demographically and professionally. It’s about people in America who now have additional fair-minded and ethical judges who make decisions impacting every aspect of our lives. And it’s ultimately about creating a vibrant multiracial democracy that protects and advances our hard-won civil rights, which are under attack by extremist forces who are trying to prevent us from reaching the full promise of our nation’s ideals.

“During the Biden administration, with leadership from Chair Durbin and Leader Schumer, the Senate has confirmed historic numbers of women, people of color, and other judges who have long been excluded from and underrepresented in our federal courts. Crucially, more than 40 percent of these confirmations have been of judges who have dedicated a significant portion of their careers to protecting people’s civil and human rights. For decades, we’ve made it clear: Civil rights lawyers, public defenders, and other lawyers from diverse professional backgrounds belong on the federal bench. And already, many of these fair-minded judges have played key roles in bringing justice to people across the country.

“Still, with the future of our democracy and our courts at stake, time is of the essence to confirm outstanding, highly qualified nominees who will bring important lived and professional experience to our judiciary. Many exceptional nominees are still pending in the Senate and must be confirmed as soon as possible. This includes Judge Nancy Maldonado (7th Circuit), Adeel Mangi (3rd Circuit), Amir Ali (District of DC), Judge Mustafa Kasubhai (District of Oregon), Judge Rebecca Pennell (Eastern District of Washington), Sarah Russell (District of Connecticut), and Sparkle Sooknanan (District of DC). Senators must evaluate each nominee based on their credentials and qualifications for the job, not based on stereotypes driven by the religion, race, or ethnicity of diverse candidates. Identity-based attacks violate civil rights principles and must not get in the way of building an equal justice judiciary.

The work ahead must include ensuring all our judges and justices are ethical and that our judicial branch centers equal justice over wealth and power. This remains urgent. We call on the White House and the Senate to accelerate this work because every judicial seat in America matters for our communities, for our rights, and for our future.”

More information about the first 200 lifetime confirmations during the Biden administration:

  • Professional diversity: More than 40 percent of lifetime confirmations (85) have been individuals who were public defenders or civil rights lawyers (or both) or who otherwise dedicated a significant portion of their careers to protecting people’s civil and human rights.
  • 127 confirmations of women, or nearly two-thirds of all lifetime confirmations.
  • 79 confirmations of women of color, including Native American and Native Hawaiian women (about 40 percent of all lifetime confirmations).
  • 125 confirmations of people of color, including Native American and Native Hawaiian judges (nearly two-thirds of all lifetime confirmations).
  • Black judges: President Biden has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 58 Black lifetime judges (nearly 30 percent of all lifetime confirmations), including 37 Black women. President Biden has appointed more Black women to federal circuit courts (13) than all previous presidents combined (8), and more than a third of all Black women serving as lifetime judges in U.S. history were put on the bench by President Biden.
  • Native American judges: President Biden has appointed and the Senate has confirmed four Native American lifetime judges, including the first Native American lifetime judges in Maryland, Washington state, and California, and the first Native American woman to serve as a lifetime judge in Oklahoma. Half of all Native American lifetime judges in our nation’s history have been appointed by President Biden.
  • Latino/a judges: President Biden has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 36 Latino/a lifetime judges, including 20 Latina judges.
  • Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) judges: President Biden has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 35 AANHPI lifetime judges, including 23 AANHPI women. In November 2023 the Senate confirmed Judge Shanlyn Park, who became the first Native Hawaiian woman to ever serve as a lifetime federal judge.
  • Openly LGBTQ judges: President Biden has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 11 openly LGBTQ lifetime judges, tying President Obama’s record for openly LGBTQ lifetime judicial appointments.
  • Judges with disabilities: President Biden has appointed and the Senate has confirmed at least two lifetime judges (Jamal Whitehead and Rita Lin) who are known to be living with a disability.

More information about these 200 confirmations is available here.

For decades, The Leadership Conference has been at the forefront of this work. Together with our coalition members and the Fair Courts Task Force — co-chaired by People For the American Way and National Women’s Law Center — we educate the public about the impact of federal courts, evaluate the civil rights records of federal judicial nominees, talk to decision-makers, and mobilize public participation in support of a judiciary that recognizes and protects the rights of all people.

The Leadership Conference released a report last year on judicial confirmations during the 117th Congress, which is available here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 240 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit