Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has recommended two voting rights lawyers for federal judgeships in New York, a move being cheered by progressives.
Schumer has recommended Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, to a federal judgeship to the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York and Myrna Pérez, director of voting rights and election programs at NYU’s Brennan Center, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
“Ms. Pérez and Mr. Ho are two of the foremost voting rights and election experts in the country. With the national focus on voting rights now, their elevation is timely; their perspective will be invaluable,” Schumer said in floor remarks Monday.
A source familiar with the recommendations earlier confirmed the names to Bloomberg Law. The news was first reported by the Associated Press.
Schumer said he expects the Senate to confirm the first of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees early this week. The Democratic-led Senate invoked cloture 66-28, ending debate on District of New Jersey nominee Julien Neals on Monday. Schumer has also filed cloture on District of Colorado nominee Regina Rodriguez.
Biden has so far moved quickly on judicial nominations, having named 19 people to lifetime federal appointments and one nominee to the D.C. Superior Court. There are 113 current and expected vacancies for Biden to fill in the judiciary.
Of those open seats, there are nine current and expected district vacancies in New York State and three on the Second Circuit. Eunice Lee, who is an attorney with the Federal Defenders of New York, was nominated to the New York-based Second Circuit last month.
Progressives welcomed the selection of the voting rights lawyers.
“Schumer is showing the rest of the Senate Dems what it means to truly diversify the federal bench. These are two top voting rights lawyers - on the heels of Schumer’s great selection of a career public defender for an earlier Circuit seat,” Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, said on Twitter.
Biden’s judicial nominees have been diverse in terms of gender, race and ethnicity, and job experience. As civil rights attorneys, Ho and Pérez would add another type of background progressives have been demanding if they are nominated by Biden.
The Senate Judiciary Committee also announced it will hear from five of Biden’s pending judicial nominees on June 9. The nominees are Lee, Tenth Circuit nominee Veronica Rossman, and three nominees for the Western District of Washington.
The Washington trial court, which covers Seattle and Tacoma, is mostly vacant with only two of its seven federal judgeships filled with active judges.