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Senate Confirms Merriam to New York-Based US Appellate Court (1)

Sept. 15, 2022, 1:53 PMUpdated: Sept. 15, 2022, 4:42 PM

The Senate confirmed Sarah A. L. Merriam to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, marking Biden’s fifth nominee on the court and adding yet another former public defender to the appellate bench.

Merriam was confirmed 53-44 Thursday. She is currently a US District Judge for the District of Connecticut and previously served as an assistant public defender for the same district. Merriam will replace Judge Susan L. Carney.

Merriam’s confirmation comes as the Democratic-led Senate has rushed to confirm pending Biden judicial nominees after returning from its August recess. Merriam’s confirmation is the fifth circuit judge confirmation in September alone.

Biden and Senate Democrats face progressive pressure to confirm as many judges as possible before the end of the year in the event that midterms aren’t favorable for Democrats.

More judicial nominees advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, including nominees to US appellate courts based in Washington and New Orleans.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-10 in favor of Brad Garcia’s nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and 16-6 on Dana Douglas’s nomination to the Fifth Circuit.

Three district court judges were also approved by the committee. They were:

  • Eastern District of Michigan nominee Frances Kay Behm, 12-10;
  • District of Minnesota nominee Jerry Blackwell, 13-8 with one pass; and
  • Northern District of New York nominee Anne Nardacci, 14-8.
(Updates with Merriam confirmation.)

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