Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Today’s Vote To Confirm Candace Jackson-Akiwumi To The 7th Circuit Court Of Appeals And The Senate Confirming More Of President Biden’s Judicial Nominees At This Point Than Any President In Recent History

June 24, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the nomination of Candace Jackson-Akiwumi to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. After today’s confirmation, the Senate will have confirmed more district and circuit court judges to the federal bench in the first six months of President Biden’s first year than any other administration in 50 years.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:


First, I have a message for the information of the Senate.


I understand there is an important meeting at the White House this morning that several members are attending. So in order to accommodate, the first vote will start at 10:45 a.m., not at 11:00 a.m. And we're going to have to move quickly on that vote so people can get their votes done and get to the White House.

 

On nominations: before we reach the conclusion of the June work period, the Senate will confirm yet another one of President Biden’s highly qualified nominees to the federal bench: Candace Jackson-Akiwumi to serve on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.


A graduate of Princeton and Yale Law School, Ms. Jackson-Akiwumi left a career at a big law firm to work for ten years as a Federal Defender in Illinois. She was a voice in the courtroom for Americans who often had no one else to speak for them: the mentally-ill, folks who could not afford an attorney.


We have plenty of prosecutors and corporate lawyers on the bench. Ms. Jackson-Akiwumi would bring a sorely needed perspective. The more our courts reflect the country as a whole, the more faith Americans will have in the equal application of the law.


Ms. Jackson-Akiwumi will make an outstanding addition to the 7th Circuit and I urge all of my colleagues to vote for her later today.


Now, I want to reflect for a moment on the pace of judicial nominations in the Democratic-led Senate so far this year.


Typically, the first several months of a new administration don’t feature a ton of judicial nominations. New presidents often have ambitious legislative agendas. And it takes a lot of time for a new president to make appointments, and get them to go through all the background checks, and for the Judiciary committee to advance nominees to the floor. So in administrations past, the first six months are a fallow period for judges.


For all the focus that the Republican leader put on judges during the previous administration, the Senate only confirmed one – one – district or circuit judge before July 4th in the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency.


By the end of today, the Senate will have confirmed more judges this week than in all six months of Donald Trump’s first year in office.


In fact, with the confirmations this week, the Senate will have confirmed more district and circuit court judges to the federal bench in the first six months of President Biden’s first year than any other administration in 50 years.


Let me say that again so people hear, because I know there's a lot of worry, justified, that President Trump shifted the bench so far to the right and that we need to rebalance it and we need to make that a very high priority.


Well, we have: after the confirmation of Ms. Jackson-Akiwumi, the Senate will have confirmed more district and circuit court judges in the first year of a presidency in over 50 years, including the first six months of Donald Trump's presidency. So we're making good, good progress.


And we’ve done it with judges who break the federal mold: federal defenders, civil rights lawyers, voting rights lawyers, the first Native American judge, the first Muslim-American judge. They make me proud that we are constantly expanding who in America can get to the bench.


All of these folks have one thing in common: they’re individuals of impeccable character and impressive credentials.


The Democratic Senate is restoring balance to the judiciary with highly-qualified, mainstream jurists who reflect the diversity of this country. And we are going to keep at in when we come back in July and beyond.


 

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