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Senate confirms Biden's first judicial nominee

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed President BidenJoe BidenJapan to possibly ease COVID-19 restrictions before Olympics 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday China supplies millions of vaccine doses to developing nations in Asia MORE’s first judicial nominee as Democrats look to make their mark on the federal courts.

The Senate voted 66-33 on Julien Neals’s nomination to be a judge for the District of New Jersey.

The Senate is also expected to confirm a second judicial nominee, Regina Rodriguez, to be a district judge for the District of Colorado, later Tuesday.

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“The Senate today will achieve an important milestone for the session: we will confirm the first of President Biden’s judicial nominees. The first, but certainly not the last, not even close,” Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate panel unanimously advances key Biden cyber nominees Overnight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve GOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' MORE (D-N.Y.) said ahead of the vote.

“I greatly look forward to confirming what will be the first of many judicial appointments during the Biden Administration,” Schumer added. 

Former President Obama nominated Neals to serve on the district court but his nomination languished in 2015 in the Republican-controlled Senate. 

The Senate currently has five judicial nominees available for floor votes, including Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to succeed Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandSenate Judiciary Democrats demand DOJ turn over Trump obstruction memo Garland strikes down Trump-era asylum decisions What's happened to Merrick Garland? MORE on the D.C. Circuit.

The effort to ramp up the Senate’s votes on Biden’s court picks comes after Senate Republicans and former President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos MORE confirmed 234 judicial nominees, including three Supreme Court justices, as they sought to carry out a decades-long conservative goal to remake the courts. 

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Biden has 80 court vacancies to fill, including nine on the influential circuit courts. Progressive activists are also hoping to pressure Supreme Court Justice Stephen BreyerStephen BreyerThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden on Putin: 'a worthy adversary' McConnell sparks new Supreme Court fight Senate confirms Garland's successor to appeals court MORE into retiring, allowing Biden and the slim 50-seat Democratic majority to fill the seat before next year’s midterm election.

Schumer vowed that Democrats would “restore the balance” of the federal courts after Trump.

“As the senator from New York, and as the majority leader, I’m intent on restoring balance to a judiciary that has been thrown out of whack by four years of President Trump’s selections,” Schumer said.