Baltimore, MD—Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, issued the following statement on President Biden’s first announcement of nominees to the federal courts:
“We are extremely pleased with many of this administration’s first judicial picks. These are terrific nominees who reflect the rich diversity of our country, and their backgrounds will bring fresh perspectives to judicial decision-making.
We are encouraged that President Biden nominated three Black women nominees to federal appellate courts: Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson for the DC Circuit, Candace Jackson-Akiwumi for the Seventh Circuit, and Tiffany Cunningham for the Federal Circuit. There is a dearth of Black women on these courts. President Biden has demonstrated he recognizes this diversity crisis, and we look forward to many more such nominees. We also applaud the nomination of the first Black woman to Maryland’s bench, Judge Lydia Griggsby, and the nomination of Julien Neals, a Black male, to the District of New Jersey.
We note that Judge Ketanji Brown-Jackson, Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, and two other nominees served as public defenders. At this moment of national crisis for our criminal justice system, it is vitally important that the administration appoints judges who recognize the racism existing within that system and the ongoing challenges to ensuring equal justice for all.
We have strongly encouraged the Biden administration to move quickly and boldly in transforming our courts. Donald Trump appointed 234 judges to the federal bench. These appointments represented the most ideological and least diverse set of judges in the modern era.
Our federal courts urgently need balance. We must repair the damage caused by Trump’s appointments and the decades-old practice by both Democratic and Republican administrations of excluding civil rights lawyers from consideration. We call upon President Biden to nominate civil rights lawyers to the bench. We need judges who have served as voting rights lawyers and who have devoted their careers to securing equal justice for underrepresented communities.”
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP.
NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.