Biden will nominate 10 federal judges on Tuesday, his first wave of judicial picks. By Lynn Sweet

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will announce his first federal judicial picks on Tuesday, including a former federal public defender, Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, to be on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals based in Chicago.

Biden’s first wave of judicial nominees comes as Democrats want him to pick up the pace on vacancies to mitigate one of former President Donald Trump’s major legacies — his relatively high numbers of confirmed federal district and appeals judges, plus three members of the Supreme Court.

If confirmed, Jackson-Akiwumi would be the only Black female judge on the Seventh Circuit.

Biden will tap 10 federal federal Circuit and District Court nominees, and one person to be a District of Columbia Superior Court judge.

According to a biography provided by the White House, Jackson-Akiwumi is currently a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder, LLP in Washington, “where she focuses on complex civil litigation, white collar criminal defense and investigations.”

Jackson-Akiwumi, 41, worked in Chicago from 2010 to 2020 as a staff attorney at the federal defender program in the Northern District of Illinois. There, the White House said, she “represented more than 400 indigent clients accused of federal crimes at every stage of the process, from investigation to trial, sentencing, and appeal.”

In a biography posted on the website of the Yale Law School — where she graduated in 2005 — Jackson-Akiwumi said of her public defender job: “I work harder and longer hours than I did as a law firm associate. But I do not mind the harder work, longer hours and lower pay because my job has meaning to me. I provide quality representation to people who would not be able to afford it, and I am there for clients at a most dreary and frightening juncture: when they are being judged for the worst day or days in their life.”

Before that, she was a litigation associate at the Chicago office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom from 2007 to 2010.

At the start of her law career, she was a law clerk for now retired U.S. District Court Judge David Coar from 2005 to 2006.

Jackson-Akiwumi received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 2000.

Biden is expected to focus on diversity in his nominations for lifetime appointments.

The White House said the first group of judicial nominees are lawyers “who have excelled in the legal field in a wide range of positions, including as renowned jurists, public defenders, prosecutors, in the private sector, in the military and as public servants at all levels of government.”

The White House called Biden’s initial picks “groundbreaking nominees, including three African American women chosen for Circuit Court vacancies, as well as candidates who, if confirmed, would be the first Muslim American federal judge in U.S. history, the first AAPI woman to ever serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of D.C., and the first woman of color to ever serve as a federal judge for the District of Maryland.”

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