Senate panel to hold first hearing on Biden court picks next week

Senate panel to hold first hearing on Biden court picks next week
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The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on judicial nominations from President BidenJoe BidenHouse Republican calls second bout of COVID-19 'far more challenging' Conflicting school mask guidance sparks confusion Biden: Pathway to citizenship in reconciliation package 'remains to be seen' MORE next week. 

The panel will meet Wednesday to hold a nomination hearing on five Biden court picks: Three nominees for lower-level district courts and two for the influential circuit courts. 

Much of the hearing is likely to focus on District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was picked by Biden to fill the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals seat vacated by Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandHas Trump beaten the system? Biden administration moves to withdraw death penalty requests in seven cases Federal gun trafficking strike forces launched in five cities MORE.

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The D.C. Circuit is the second most powerful court in the country, and Jackson is already getting Supreme Court buzz. Three of the nine current Supreme Court justices were nominated while serving on the D.C. Circuit, as were the late Justices Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgAnti-abortion movement eyes its holy grail Abortion rights face most difficult test yet at Supreme Court Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade MORE and Antonin Scalia.

Progressive groups have been trying to pressure Justice Stephen BreyerStephen BreyerSenate panel votes to make women register for draft Biden's belated filibuster decision: A pretense of principle at work Klobuchar: If Breyer is going to retire from Supreme Court, it should be sooner rather than later MORE, who is 82, to retire so that Biden can fill his seat while Democrats control the Senate, and Jackson is viewed as a potential successor. 

Jackson was previously considered for the Supreme Court in 2016 when former President Obama was searching for a nominee following the death of Scalia. Obama ultimately nominated Garland, who was blocked by Senate Republicans. 

The start of the Senate's work on Biden's judicial nominees comes after Senate Republicans and then-President TrumpDonald TrumpRonny Jackson, former White House doctor, predicts Biden will resign McCarthy: Pelosi appointing members of Jan. 6 panel who share 'pre-conceived narrative' Kinzinger denounces 'lies and conspiracy theories' while accepting spot on Jan. 6 panel MORE raced to remake the courts, fulfilling a decades-long conservative goal. 

Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is also viewed as eager to put his own stamp on the courts. He has focused so far on selecting nominees who are diverse in their race, gender and professional background, drawing a sharp contrast with the more homogeneous pool of nominees selected by Trump. 

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All five of the nominees getting a hearing next week are people of color. 

The Wednesday hearing will be broken into two panels. 

The Judiciary Committee will first hold a hearing for Julien Xavier Neals's and Zahid Quraishi's nominations to be district judges for the District of New Jersey and Regina Rodriguez's nomination to be a district judge for the District of Colorado. 

The second panel will then focus on Jackson's D.C. Circuit nomination and Candace Jackson-Akiwumi's nomination to be a judge for the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit