US Senate confirms Childs for seat on key DC appeals court

Judge J. Michelle Childs, nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee at the United States Capitol in Washington. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

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  • Senate Confirms Judge J. Michelle Childs for DC Circuit
  • Biden’s other two DC circuit nominees are pending

(Reuters) – Fifteen Senate Republicans joined Democrats on Tuesday in confirming U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs to the influential federal appeals court in Washington, DC, in one of the most bipartisan votes for the one of President Joe Biden’s appeals court nominees.

The US Senate voted 64 to 34 to elevate the South Carolina District Court judge to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, after Biden ruled earlier this year not to appoint her to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Among the Republicans backing her were the two South Carolina senators, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, who said he would have backed Biden in choosing her to succeed retired liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

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Biden considered Childs, a favorite of U.S. Representative James Clyburn, the majority whip and third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, but instead chose Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first black woman to serve on the court.

Few of Biden’s other 16 nominees to the country’s 13 circuit courts can claim the level of support Childs, who is also black, has received. Jackson herself was confirmed to the DC Circuit in June 2021 on a more typical 53-44 vote.

Only U.S. Circuit Judge Tiffany Cunningham, a Biden nominee for the patent-centric U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, received as many Republican votes as Childs when 15 joined Democrats in confirming her 63-33 in July 2021.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Senate confirmed that Miner, Barnhill & Galland partner Nancy Maldonado and U.S. Magistrate Judge Nina Wang would become judges of the federal district courts of northern Illinois and Colorado by 58 to 36 votes, respectively. 53 votes against 41.

Graham at a May 26 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing said Childs “would not have been chosen by a conservative Republican but, in my opinion, he is someone highly qualified to do the job.”

The former state court judge was nominated by then-President Barack Obama, a Democrat, to her current role on the district court and confirmed in 2010. She is the president-elect of the Federal Judges Association.

She will succeed U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel, who assumed senior status. Biden’s other two nominees for the DC Circuit, U.S. District Judge Florence Pan and Brad Garcia, are pending.

If Pan and Garcia are confirmed, the DC Circuit would have seven Democratic presidential appointees and four Republican appointees.

Read more:

US Senate panel advances Childs’ nomination to key DC appeals court

Former Supreme Court nominee Justice Childs wins support for appeal role

Biden considers Justice J. Michelle Childs, among others, for Supreme Court

Biden appoints 2 appellate justices, including Supreme Court nominee

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Nathalie Raymond

Thomson Reuters

Nate Raymond reports on federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at [email protected]

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