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President Biden's Third Slate of Judicial Nominees Continues Emphasis on Criminal Defense Experience

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Today the White House announced its third slate of federal judicial nominees, including three for federal appellate courts. Of particular note, all three of today’s nominees to appellate vacancies have public defender experience. This is significant because, while there is a surfeit of federal judges who are former prosecutors, there are relatively few federal judges who have been public defenders.

Today’s three appellate nominees are:

  • For the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit: Chief Judge Gustavo A. Gelpí of the U.S. District court for the District of Puerto Rico. Among other things, Judge Gelpí served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender from 1993 to 1996.
  • For the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit: Eunice C. Lee, an Assistant Federal Defender with the Federal Defenders of New York.
  • For the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit: Veronica S. Rossman, Senior Counsel to the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Districts of Colorado and Wyoming.

The White House also announced nominations for district courts in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Washington.

This brings the total number of President Biden’s judicial nominations up to 20, none of which have yet been confirmed. As of today, there are a total of 81 current judicial vacancies on the federal bench, and 26 future vacancies.


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