On the campaign trail, Biden pledged to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court if he got the chance. His first round of nominees at the appeals and district levels reflects a similar commitment; none are white men. And the commitment to diversity extends into their professional backgrounds: While Trump’s nominees were mostly prosecutors and corporate law partners, Biden has chosen a slate of lawyers and judges whose careers include civil rights litigation, public service and criminal defense.
Among the more consequential positions he has filled is at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. Biden named Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder who previously represented hundreds of indigent clients as a federal public defender. If confirmed by the Senate, she would become the only Black jurist on the influential Seventh Circuit Court, after Trump passed up four opportunities to install a nonwhite judge to the court.
Biden also announced that he would seek to elevate Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is currently a district-court judge, to the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She too has worked as a public defender, and has served as a Supreme Court clerk and later a corporate litigator.