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Biden announces 2nd slate of diverse judicial nominees

The nominees announced Thursday include two women and a Latino judge.
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President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in the House Chamber at the Capitol.Melina Mara / The Washington Post via AP pool

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he is nominating additional diverse candidates for federal court vacancies.

The nominees include David Estudillo, now presiding judge of Grant County Superior Court in Ephrata, Washington, for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Estudillo previously practiced immigration law and general civil litigation at his own firm.

Biden’s other two picks are Tana Lin, also for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, and Christine O’Hearn, for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Lin, who would be the first Asian American judge for that district, has been working at law firm Keller Rohrback since 2004 where she has focused on representing employees and shareholders in consumer and antitrust litigation. O’Hearn has been a partner at law firm Brown and Connery since 1993 where she practices labor and employment law.

“These candidates also speak to the President’s strong belief that the federal judiciary should reflect the proud diversity of the nation, both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds,” the White House said in the announcement.

Biden announced a first slate of 11 candidates for judicial nominations last month, some of whom testified before Congress on Wednesday.

Ketanji Brown Jackson attracted most of the attention at the hearing. She is a federal judge in the District of Columbia, and Biden wants her promoted to the appeals court seat left vacant when Merrick Garland became his attorney general. Biden has promised to name a Black woman to the Supreme Court if a vacancy arises, and Jackson is widely seen as a potential pick down the line.

There are currently 78 judicial vacancies, according to the judiciary’s website. Biden's judiciary picks come after the Senate installed numerous conservative judges nominated by former President Donald Trump over the last four years. Trump appointed more than a quarter of the federal judiciary, including conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

The Associated Press contributed.