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Biden team asks Senate Democrats to recommend public defenders, civil rights lawyers for federal bench


#Dana #Remus#Dana #RemusMORE, #Biden’s pick to serve as #White #House counsel when he takes office next month, sent a letter to #Democratic senators this month soliciting their input on district court seats in their states, saying that the new administration would be emphasizing nominees who are demographically diverse and don’t have the corporate law or prosecutor pedigree that is typical of a federal judge.

“#With respect to U.S. #District #Court positions, we are particularly focused on nominating individuals whose legal experiences have been historically underrepresented on the federal bench, including those who are public defenders, civil rights and legal aid attorneys, and those who represent #Americans in every walk of life,” #Remus wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The #Hill.

The letter, dated #Dec. 22, was first reported by #HuffPost on #Thursday.

The letter comes as advocacy groups have been pushing #Biden’s transition team to take a different approach from past administrations when it comes to appointing federal judges.

#Recent presidents of both parties have filled the judiciary with former prosecutors, lawyers who primarily come from prestigious law firms specializing in representing big corporations or some combination of the two.

The #Center for #American #Progress published a study in #August that found that 65 percent of circuit court judges, who sit just below the #Supreme #Court, spent the majority of their legal careers in private practice, usually at major law firms. #Only three had spent their careers as public defenders, and just one was a nonprofit lawyer, according to the study.

A 2014 study from the progressive group #Alliance for #Justice (AFJ) found that former #President #Obama had contributed to the trend. #According to AFJ, 85 percent of #Obama’s nominees up to that point were corporate attorneys, prosecutors or both.

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The letter from #Remus is a victory for the advocates who have been pushing #Biden to approach judicial nominations differently from his #Democratic predecessors.

#Christopher #Kang, a co-founder of the progressive group #Demand #Justice, applauded the move and pushed #Democrats in the #Senate to honor it.

“These are exactly the kind of priorities and processes that we have been pushing for and that will be necessary to rebalance our courts after four years of #Trump and #McConnell,” #Kang said in a statement. “#President-elect #Biden’s emphasis from the outset on professional diversity demonstrates his commitment to build on the historic demographic diversity of #President #Obama’s judges, and his clear timeline underscores that judges will be a priority from day one of his administration.”

“This letter also sets the right tone with #Senators, who have traditionally had an outsize—although often under-scrutinized—role in judicial nominations, and can be the source of delay or recommend too many lawyers from over-represented backgrounds, such as corporate law firms and prosecutors’ offices,” he added. “#Now, #Senators are on notice that they must follow #Biden’s lead and must provide multiple, timely recommendations of lawyers who would restore balance and legitimacy to our courts.”





[ source link ]
https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/532164-biden-team-asks-senate-dems-to-recommend-public-defenders-civil

##Biden #team #asks ##Senate ##Democrats #recommend #public #defenders #civil #rights #lawyers #federal #bench

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