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Michelle Childs is confirmed to seat on D.C. Circuit

Judge J. Michelle Childs during a hearing in 2010. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

J. Michelle Childs was confirmed by the U.S. Senate this week to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Childs, a district court judge in South Carolina, will be the only appointee of President Biden on the influential appeals court — but likely not for long. Florence Pan, who sits on the U.S. District Court for D.C., had a confirmation hearing in June. Bradley Garcia, another Biden nominee, is awaiting his hearing.

Childs has been outspoken about racial bias in court, diversity in the judiciary and the impact of gun violence on children. As a federal judge, she ruled on same-sex marriage, coronavirus mandates and absentee voting.

Biden’s first nominee to the D.C. Circuit, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, has since moved up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Childs was also considered for that seat. She had the backing of powerful House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), but she was opposed by some liberal groups who question her record as a corporate lawyer. Childs was the first Black woman partner at a major South Carolina law firm, where she was part of the employment law team. She then worked in South Carolina government and state court before becoming a federal judge.

In a statement announcing her confirmation on Tuesday, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Childs is “exceptionally qualified to serve” on the D.C. Circuit. She was confirmed by a vote of 64-34.

“With her extensive judicial service at the state and federal level, her experience administering state and federal programs, and her historic career in private practice, Judge Childs will be ready to serve the D.C. Circuit with distinction on day one,” Durbin said in the statement.

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