Bloomberg Law
Feb. 9, 2023, 3:06 PMUpdated: Feb. 9, 2023, 6:01 PM

Biden Eleventh Circuit Pick Advances Out of Senate Judiciary (1)

Tiana Headley
Tiana Headley

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced four federal appeals court nominees, including attorneys for the Southern Poverty Law Center and Center for Reproductive Rights, who have attracted intense Republican opposition.

Nancy Abudu, a top attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center, was reported favorably, 11-10, by the panel’s newly enlarged Democratic majority Thursday to a seat on the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Abudu would be the first Black woman to serve on the Eleventh Circuit. The panel deadlocked, 11-11, last May on Abudu’s nomination to the Atlanta-based court.

The panel also advanced the First Circuit nomination of Julie Rikelman, who represented the Mississippi abortion clinic in the US Supreme Court case that overturned the constitutional right to abortion last year. The committee had similarly deadlocked on Rikelman last Congress.

The Judiciary Committee also advanced Southern District of New York nominee Dale Ho, Sixth Circuit nominee Rachel Bloomekatz, and Ninth Circuit nominee Anthony Johnstone. Lawmakers deadlocked 10-10 on Anthony Johnstone’s nomination last week, but the arrival of Peter Welch (D-Vt.) provides the panel’s Democrats with a decisive majority.

Republicans repeated their criticisms of Abudu, Ho, Rikelman, and Bloomekatz as advocates incapable of acting impartial on the federal bench. None of the targeted nominees won Republican votes during the committee meeting.

“Political rhetoric is one thing, but when you have extreme leftists falsely claiming white supremacy, it illustrates that you are dealing with radical and partisan zealots,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) of the SPLC’s labeling of some Republican committee members as “white supremacists.”

The panel voted out all 25 nominees considered during the meeting.

(Adds additional advanced nominees and Republican critiques )

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