Senate confirms Biden’s first judicial nominee
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Biden’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.
“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 Schumer (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 Garland 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 Trump confirmed 234 judicial nominees, including three Supreme Court justices, as they sought to carry out a decades-long conservative goal to remake the courts.
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 Breyer 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.