WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, May 18, the U.S. Senate voted 49-47 to confirm Nancy G. Abudu to a lifetime appointment as a judge on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Her confirmation is historic, as she is the first Black woman to ever serve on the 11th Circuit, which rules on appeals originating out of Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
Before her nomination to the 11th Circuit, Abudu was a voting rights attorney, making her pro-voting perspective a crucial and exciting addition to the court. As a civil rights litigator she challenged Florida’s felony disenfranchisement law and omnibus voter suppression law, Georgia’s omnibus voter suppression law and more.
Abudu’s confirmation makes her the 131st judge nominated by President Joe Biden. Importantly, Biden’s nominations will change the composition of the federal judiciary to be more diverse in terms of gender, race and ethnicity and professional backgrounds. According to NBC News’ Sahil Kapur,“Biden has picked unusually high numbers of public defenders, civil rights lawyers and labor lawyers compared to his predecessors from both parties.”
Filling judicial vacancies in federal courts with progressive, pro-democracy judges is crucial as conservatives have packed these courts for years. Although 93 circuit and district court vacancies still remain, Abudu’s confirmation is an important step toward progress on the federal bench.