April 27 – President Joe Biden on Wednesday continued to divide the state bench in terms of demographics and work experience with five new nominees, including two women with backgrounds as public defenders appointed as appellate judges.
Biden has appointed Lara Montecalvo, Rhode Island’s top public defender, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals. First Boston-based, and U.S. District Judge Sarah Merriam in Connecticut to join U.S. District Court of Appeal 2 of New York.
Nominees include Ana Reyes, a prosecutor for the Williams & Connolly law firm who moved to the United States at a young age and who would become the first Hispanic woman and an LGBTQ public to serve as a district court judge in Washington, D.C.
Combined with two other district court judges in New York and Virginia, Biden has appointed 92 state court judges and 92 regional court judges since taking office last year.
The Senate Democrats are rushing to strengthen as many nominees as possible before the mid-November election while maintaining their 50-50 minor control of the chamber.
Most of Biden’s nominees were women and people of color. Many have backgrounds other than corporate lawyers or prosecutors, many traditional judicial systems, including 27 former or former public defenders representing the poor defendants.
These include Ketanji Brown Jackson, a Senate who confirmed this month that she would be the first black woman in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Three of Wednesday’s nominees have served as public defenders: Montecalvo, Merriam and Elizabeth Hanes, a magistrate appointed to serve as a district court judge in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Biden elected Merriam last year in his place, and the Senate confirmed him 54-46 votes.
Biden also appointed Anne Nardacci, a colleague at the Boies Schiller Flexner law firm in Albany, New York, to serve as a district court judge for the Northern District of New York.