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ACLU Voting Rights Lawyer Among New Biden Judicial Picks (1)

Sept. 30, 2021, 1:50 PMUpdated: Sept. 30, 2021, 3:42 PM

President Joe Biden has selected the American Civil Liberties Union’s top voting rights lawyer as one of 10 new federal trial court picks announced Thursday.

Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s voting rights project, is Biden’s intended nominee for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Ho argued against the Trump administration twice at the U.S. Supreme Court, including a successful challenge involving citizenship on the 2020 Census.

Prior to his work at the ACLU, Ho worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Ho has support from progressive groups like Demand Justice, which included him on its list of ideal Supreme Court candidates.

The new list of planned nominees also included four picks for local courts in the District of Columbia, including D.C. Solicitor General Loren AliKhan for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

The new intended nominees reflect Biden’s push to diversify the courts in terms of demographics and professional experience.

If confirmed, Victoria Marie Calvert would be the second Black woman to serve as a judge in the Northern District of Georgia and its first former federal defender; David A. Ruiz, who is nominated to the Northern District of Ohio, would be the first Hispanic U.S. district court judge in the state; and AliKhan would be the first Asian American or Pacific Islander judge on the D.C. Court of Appeals.

In addition to Ho, the list includes another nominee with a civil rights background, an uncommon experience for federal judges. Sarah Geraghty, who is nominated to the Northern District of Georgia, is currently senior counsel for the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta.

The three nominees to the Northern District of Ohio—Ruiz, federal defender Charles Esque Fleming, and acting U.S. attorney Bridget Meehan Brennan—mark the first Biden’s district nominees to come from a state with a Republican senator.

The other planned district court nominees announced Thursday were:

  • John H. Chun, for the Western District of Washington;
  • Samantha D. Elliott, for the District of New Hampshire;
  • Linda Lopez, for the Southern District of California; and,
  • Jinsook Ohta, for the Southern District of California.

With the help of the Democratic-led Senate, Biden so far has been able to maintain a quick pace on confirmations. As of Sept. 10, he had outpaced all of his predecessors since Richard Nixon. Judicial nominations experts attributed that in part to his focus on vacancies in states with two Democratic senators, where it might be easier to come to a consensus on a nominee.

(Updates with additional reporting throughout. )

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