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Justice Jackson’s D.C. Circuit Successor Confirmed by Senate

Sept. 20, 2022, 4:34 PM

The Senate confirmed US District Judge Florence Y. Pan to the federal appeals court in Washington, filling the seat vacated by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson when she was elevated to the Supreme Court.

The Senate voted 52-42 Tuesday to elevate Pan to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is the chief venue for disputes involving government agencies.

Senate Democrats have moved quickly to confirm Biden appellate nominees since returning from the August recess. Pan’s confirmation is the sixth to an appellate court in September, nearly doubling the seven confirmed earlier in 2022.

With Pan’s confirmation, the Senate has confirmed 24 of Biden’s circuit court nominees and 58 district court nominees. Thirteen circuit and 44 district nominees await Senate action. One announced district nominee hasn’t formally been sent to the Senate.

Senate Democrats post-recess confirmation push has come with both successes and one unexpected failure. Biden achieved a record number of former public defenders on the appellate courts with the confirmation of Lara Montecalvo to the First Circuit Sept. 14. That came a day after the Senate failed to muster enough support for Third Circuit nominee Arianna Freeman, resulting in the first failed confirmation vote on a Biden judicial nominee.

Pan is Biden’s third confirmed judge on the circuit sometimes referred to as the “second highest” to the Supreme Court. Biden appointed Jackson to the D.C. Circuit before her elevation to the Supreme Court and Judge J. Michelle Childs was confirmed to the circuit earlier this year.

Biden’s fourth nominee to the court, Brad Garcia, was favorably reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sept. 15 and awaits action by the full Senate.

Before becoming a federal judge, Pan served on the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. She was also a US attorney in Washington, served in senior adviser roles in the Treasury Department, and worked at the Justice Department as a fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General and as a Criminal Division attorney.

Pan also replaced Jackson on the US District Court for the District of Columbia in 2021.

To contact the reporter on this story: Madison Alder in Washington at malder@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com