President Biden names 26th round of judicial nominees

President Biden names 26th round of judicial nominees
President Biden names 26th round of judicial nominees

The President announces the nominations of eight new federal judicial nominees and his intention to nominate nine federal judicial nominees, all of whom are extraordinarily qualified, experienced and dedicated to the rule of law and our Constitution.

These choices also continue to deliver on the President’s promise to ensure that national courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country, both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds.

For example, if confirmed, this list would include:

  • The first women of color to serve on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington and the first black women to serve on a United States District Court in the State of Washington
  • The first South Asian judge to serve on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • The second Hispanic man to serve on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • The only Article III LGBT judge actively serving on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California

This is President Biden’s twenty-sixth round of nominations for federal judicial office and his thirteenth slate of nominations in 2022, bringing the number of announced federal judicial nominees to 143.

President Biden has spent decades strengthening the federal judiciary, which is why he continues to move quickly to fill judicial vacancies. And he won the highest number of lower court justices for the first year of a presidency since the Kennedy administration.

U.S. Circuit Court Announcements

1. Anthony Johnstone: nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Anthony Johnstone is the Helen & David Mason Professor of Law and Affiliate Professor of Public Administration at the University of Montana Blewett School of Law, where he has taught since 2011. Mr. Johnstone has also worked as a solo practitioner at Johnstone PLLC since 2015. He previously served as the Montana State’s Attorney from 2008 to 2011. From 2004 to 2008, Mr. Johnstone served as an Assistant Attorney General with the Montana Department of Justice. From 2000 to 2004, he was a litigation partner at Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP in New York. He clerked for Judge Sidney R. Thomas on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Montana from 1999 to 2000. Mr. Johnstone received his JD, with honors, from the University of Chicago in 1999 and his BA from Yale University in 1995.

United States District Court Announcements

1. Charnelle Marie Bjelkengren: Nominated for United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington – Intention to appoint

Charnelle Marie Bjelkengren has served as a Washington State Superior Court judge since 2019. Judge Bjelkengren previously served as an administrative law judge for the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings from 2013 to 2019. From 2001 to 2003 and from 2004 to 2013, she served as Assistant Attorney General in the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. Justice Bjelkengren received her JD from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2000 and her BA from Mankato State University (now Minnesota State University), cum laudein 1997.

2. Gordon Gallagher: United States District Court nominee for the District of Colorado

Gordon Gallagher has served as a part-time United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Colorado in Grand Junction since 2012. Judge Gallagher has also had his own solo practice since 2000, focused on criminal defense work in state courts . He previously served as an assistant district attorney for the Mesa County, Colorado district attorney’s office from 1997 to 2000. From 1996 to 1997, Judge Gallagher was a partner at Underhill and Underhill PC in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Justice Gallagher received his JD from the University of Denver College of Law in 1996 and his BA from Macalester College in 1991.

3. Jonathan JC Gray: Candidate for United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Jonathan JC Gray has served as the United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan since 2021. Judge Gray previously served as the Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio from 2016 to 2021 and in the United States. Office of the Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2012 to 2016. From 2011 to 2012 and from 2007 to 2009, he was a partner at Seyfath Shaw LLP in Chicago, Illinois. Judge Gray clerked for Judge Damon J. Keith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit from 2010 to 2011 and Judge W. Louis Sands on the United States District Court for the Intermediate District of Georgia from 2009 to 2010. Justice Gray received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center in 2007 and his BS from Morehouse College in 2004.

4. Colleen Lawless: United States District Court nominee for the Central District of Illinois

Colleen Lawless has served as an Associate Judge for the Seventh Judicial Circuit for Sangamon County, Illinois since 2019. Judge Lawless was previously a shareholder of Londrigan, Potter & Randle PC in Springfield, Illinois from 2009 to 2019. Judge Lawless received her JD from Northern Illinois University College of Law in 2009 and his BA from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2005.

5. Orelia Merchant: Candidate for United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Orelia Merchant has served as the Chief Deputy Attorney General for State Counsel in the New York State Attorney General’s Office since 2019. Ms. Merchant previously worked in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York as Executive Assistant to the United States Attorney from 2016 to 2019 and as Assistant United States Attorney from 2002 to 2016. From 1998 to 2002, Ms. Merchant served as Regional Counsel Deputy for the United States Environmental Protection Agency. From 2000 to 2001, she was assigned to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana as Special Assistant to the United States Attorney. Ms. Merchant received her JD from Tulane University Law School in 1998, her Masters of Marine Science from the College of William and Mary in 1995 and her BS from Dillard University in 1992.

6. P. Casey Pitts: Nominee for United States District Court for the Northern District of California

P. Casey Pitts is a partner at Altshuler Berzon LLP in San Francisco, California, where he has worked since 2009. Mr. Pitts was a partner in the firm from 2009 to 2017. He served as law clerk to Judge Stephen Reinhardt in the Court of Appeals of the United States for the Ninth Circuit from 2008 to 2009. Mr. Pitts received his JD from Yale Law School in 2008 and his BA from Yale University in 2003.

seven. Ramon Reyes: nominee for United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Ramon Reyes has served as the United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York since 2006. Judge Reyes previously served as the Assistant United States Attorney for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York from 1998 to 2006. From 1995 Until 1998, he was a litigation partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP in New York. He served as law clerk to Judge David G. Trager in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York from 1994 to 1995. In 1993, Judge Reyes was legislative counsel for the New York City Council. Justice Reyes received his LL.M. from New York University School of Law in 1993, his JD from Brooklyn Law School in 1992, and his BS from Cornell University in 1988.

8. Arun Subramanian: nominee for United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

Arun Subramanian is a partner at Susman Godfrey LLP in New York, where he has worked since 2007. Mr. Subramanian clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Supreme Court from 2006 to 2007, Justice Gerard E. Lynch in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York from 2005 to 2006, and Judge Dennis Jacobs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 2004 to 2005. Mr. Subramanian received his JD from Columbia Law School in 2004 and his BA from Case Western Reserve University in 2001.

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