Biden presents new list of federal judicial nominees, including 3 Black women

Among the six nominees, Judge Karen M. Williams could become the first Black district court judge to sit in Camden courthouse of the U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

President Joe Biden and the White House announced its third slate of judicial nominees on Thursday.

The pool of hopefuls brings forth the diversity and experience this administration has championed from the onset. Among the six nominees, one could become the first Black judge in the Camden courthouse of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

In a press release, the White House listed the nominees and their notable accomplishments on the legal front. There are three nominees each for the Court of Appeals and the District Court.

President Joe Biden
(Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

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Gustavo A. Gelpí Jr., the nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, is currently a federal judge on the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico bench. Judge Gelpi has served as chief judge of the court since 2018. He also held the post of magistrate judge for the court between 2001 and 2006. Gelpi’s career began in 1991 when he was named the law clerk for Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez of the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico in 1991.

Eunice C. Lee, the nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, is currently an Assistant Federal Defender with the Federal Defenders of New York. Lee would become just the second Black woman judge to serve for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and would be the only judge to ever work previously as a federal defender in that circuit. Lee began her career in 1996 as a law clerk for Judge Susan J. Dlott for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

The last of the Circuit Court nominees is Veronica S. Rossman, nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Rossman currently serves as Senior Counsel to the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Districts of Colorado and Wyoming, maintaining the post since 2017. Like Lee, she would become the first judge in this circuit to have served as a federal defender. Rossman’s career began in 1997 as a law clerk for Chief Justice A. William Maupin on the Nevada Supreme Court.

The District Court is comprised of nominees with equally impressive resumes in comparison to their Circuit Court counterparts.

Angel Kelly Karen M. Williams Biden nominee
The Honorable Angel Kelley, Associate Justice, Massachusetts Superior Court and Judge Karen M. Williams (Credit: Boston Law University and U.S. Courts)

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Angel Kelley, the nominee for the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, has been the Associate Judge for Massachusetts’ state court since 2009. Kelley has also served as a Superior Court judge for the state and was the Regional Administrative Judge for the court between 2017 and 2020. Kelley’s career started as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society in the Juvenile Rights Division in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1993. She would be only the second Black woman and second Asian woman to serve for the court.

Lauren J. King, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, is currently a principal at Foster Garvey, P.C., a Seattle-based firm. She is also the chair of the firm’s Native American Law Practice Group. King would become the first federal judge of Native American descent to serve in Washington’s state history and only the third Native American judge at the federal level. King is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation in Oklahoma.

The final nominee of this current slate is Karen M. Williams, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Since 2009, Judge Williams has served as the U.S. Magistrate Judge for the court. Williams is also an adjunct professor at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. Williams served 17 years in private practice for Jasinski & Williams, P.C., based in Atlantic City, with a focus on employment law. She would become the first Black judge to ever serve at the Camden courthouse for the court.

The U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Committee will be the final hurdle for the latest crop of nominees, and they join 12 others who were nominated last month across the two courts in Tiffany P. Cunningham, Ketanji Brown Jackson, Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, Deborah Boardman, Lydia Kay Griggsby, Julien Xavier Neals, Zahid Quraishi, Regina M. Rodriguez, Margaret Strickland, David Estudillo, Tana Lin, and Christine O’Hearn.

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