Bloomberg Law
Dec. 2, 2021, 3:33 PM

Senate Panel Deadlocks on Biden Ninth Circuit, Trial Court Picks

Madison Alder
Madison Alder

The Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked along party lines on advancing three of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees to the full chamber, including a pick for the largest appellate court and an LGBT trailblazer.

The committee on Thursday voted 11-11 on Holly Thomas, who is nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She would be the second Black woman to ever serve on the California-based court, if confirmed, and is the second Ninth Circuit nominee to receive a tie vote in committee in recent weeks.

The panel also tied on the nominations of Charlotte Sweeney to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, and Hernan Vera to the Central District of California. They also received 11-11 votes. If confirmed, Sweeney would be the first openly LGBT federal judge in Colorado, according to the White House.

Tie votes in committee don’t sink a nomination, but they add an extra step in the confirmation process on the floor. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) must call a vote of the full chamber in order to move the nomination out of committee.

Ninth Circuit nominee Jennifer Sung cleared that hurdle through a discharge motion in November, with help from Vice President Kamala Harris who broke a 49-49 tie on the motion. She awaits the next step in the confirmation process.

The committee on Thursday also favorably reported nine Biden judicial nominees including Gabriel Sanchez for the Ninth Circuit.

To contact the reporter on this story: Madison Alder in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at; John Crawley at