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Michelle Childs Confirmed to D.C. Circuit in Bipartisan Vote (1)

July 19, 2022, 10:29 PMUpdated: July 19, 2022, 11:26 PM

Former Supreme Court contender Michelle Childs handily won Senate confirmation to the powerful federal appeals court in Washington.

The Democratic-led Senate confirmed Childs 64 to 34 on Tuesday with support from 15 Republicans. She’s the second Biden circuit nominee to receive that level of GOP support.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a chief venue for cases involving administrative agencies and Congress. It has also been a springboard for future justices. Childs’ nomination was paused this year when President Joe Biden considered her for the high court before selecting Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace the retiring Stephen Breyer.

Childs will be the only Biden appointee on the D.C. Circuit after Jackson was elevated. Childs replaces David Tatel, who retired in May after more than 27 years on the court.

A judge on the US District Court for the District of South Carolina, Childs received strong backing from her home-state congressional delegation throughout her consideration for the Supreme Court and nomination to the D.C. Circuit. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, sung her praises for both positions.

Graham called Childs a role model for young people looking to pursue law as a career. “I appreciate the bipartisan support from our Senate colleagues and wish Judge Childs well on this new chapter in her life,” Graham said in a tweet.

Childs began her legal career at Nexsen Pruet in South Carolina where she focused on labor and employment law and became the first Black female partner at a major law firm in the state. After a decade at the firm, Childs went on to serve as an official in the South Carolina labor department and as a commissioner on the state workers’ compensation board.

In 2006, she became a state circuit court judge and was later tapped by Barack Obama for the federal bench. Childs has been a judge on the federal trial court in South Carolina since 2010.

Despite the bipartisan support for her circuit nomination, Childs received some pushback from progressives when she was being considered for the Supreme Court. They said her background as a lawyer representing companies would be out-of-step with Biden’s push to diversify the courts in terms of professional experience.

Those concerns didn’t resurface during her circuit confirmation.

The support of 15 Republicans for Childs matched that of Tiffany Cunningham, who was confirmed to the Federal Circuit a year ago to the day.

Two more D.C. Circuit nominees await Senate action. US District Judge Florence Pan would take Jackson’s former seat and Justice Department lawyer Brad Garcia would replace Judge Judith Rogers.

Childs’ confirmation comes after the confirmations of two district court judges Tuesday. Nancy Maldonado was confirmed 53-45 to the Northern District of Illinois and Nina Wang was confirmed 58-36 to the District of Colorado.

(Updates with GOP votes.)

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