Black Lifetime Judges Confirmed During the Biden Administration

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As we begin Black History Month 2024, President Biden has appointed 56 Black judges, including 35 Black women, who are now serving lifetime appointments on the federal bench. Importantly, more than 40 percent of these judges come to the bench with significant experience protecting and advancing civil and human rights.

This fact sheet only includes Article III (lifetime) confirmations.

  • President Biden has appointed more Black lifetime judges than any previous president in a single term. This includes the first Black woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court — Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
  • Since 2021, the Senate has confirmed 14 Black judges to federal appellate courts, including 13 Black women. Before President Biden, only eight Black women had ever served at this level of our federal judiciary.
  • President Biden has appointed the first Black lifetime judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Tiffany Cunningham), U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (Jerry Edwards, Jr.), and U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii (Micah Smith). Judge Melissa DuBose, who would be the first lifetime Black judge (and first lifetime judge of color) on the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, is pending before the Senate.
  • In addition to the U.S. Supreme Court, President Biden has appointed the first Black women to serve as lifetime judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (Arianna Freeman), U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Dana Douglas), U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Nancy Abudu), U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Tiffany Cunningham), U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana (Cristal Brisco), U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (Lydia Griggsby), and U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon (Adrienne Nelson).
  • More than 40 percent of confirmed Black judges are professionally diverse — having worked as either a civil rights lawyer or public defender (or both) or otherwise dedicated a significant portion of their careers to protecting people’s civil and human rights.

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