President Biden Names Fifth Round of Judicial Nominees

5 months ago
AMERICA NEWS NOW

As he continues to move at an historic pace with respect to judicial nominees, the President is announcing eight new candidates for the federal bench and one new candidate for District of Columbia courts, all of whom are extraordinarily qualified, experienced, and devoted to the rule of law and our Constitution.

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

For example, this slate includes:

  • A woman who would be the first federal judge of South Asian descent in Michigan
  • A labor lawyer and former union organizer who would also be the first AAPI judge from Oregon on the Ninth Circuit
  • An Assistant U.S. Attorney who would be the second woman of color to ever serve on the federal bench in Virginia
  • A former prosecutor with the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section who would be the first Hispanic judge on the Court of Federal Claims

This is President Biden’s fifth round of names for federal judicial positions, bringing the number of announced federal judicial nominees to 32.

President Biden has spent decades committed to strengthening the federal bench, which is why he continues to move at an unparalleled speed with respect to judicial nominations. His first judicial nominations announcement was made faster than that of any new President in modern American history, and today’s announcement continues that trend.

CIRCUIT COURTS

TOBY J. HEYTENS
Nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Toby Heytens has served as the Solicitor General for the Commonwealth of Virginia since his appointment in 2018. Mr. Heytens previously served as a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law from 2014 to 2018 and as an Associate Professor of Law from 2010 to 2014 and from 2006 to 2007. During his tenure at the University of Virginia School of Law, he also frequently served as a co-director of its Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Heytens served as an Assistant to the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice. From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Heytens worked in the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group at O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington, D.C. Mr. Heytens served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2001 to 2002. Mr. Heytens served as a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court from 2002 to 2003 and for Judge Edward R. Becker on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 2000 to 2001.

Mr. Heytens received his B.A. from Macalester College in 1997 and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2000.

JENNIFER SUNG
Nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Jennifer Sung has been a member of the Oregon Employment Relations Board since her appointment in 2017. Previously, she was a partner at McKanna Bishop Joffe LLP in Portland, where she worked from 2013 to 2017. From 2007 to 2013, Ms. Sung worked at Altshuler Berzon LLP in San Francisco. While in private practice, she was a litigator specializing in labor, employment, and constitutional law, and she represented labor organizations and employees in arbitrations, administrative proceedings, and civil litigation in state and federal courts. From 2005 to 2007, Ms. Sung was a Skadden Fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. Ms. Sung served as a law clerk for Judge Betty Binns Fletcher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 2004 to 2005. Before law school, she was an organizer with the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 from 1998 to 2001 and with the Service Employees International Union Local 74 from 1996 to 1998.

Ms. Sung received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2004 and her B.A. from Oberlin College in 1994.

DISTRICT COURTS

JANE M. BECKERING
Nominated to the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan

Judge Jane M. Beckering has served on the Michigan Court of Appeals since 2007, where she oversees both civil and criminal proceedings. Judge Beckering is the Chief Judge Pro Tempore of the Court. She is also President-Elect of the Grand Rapids Bar Association and previously served on the Michigan Supreme Court Committee on Model Civil Jury Instructions. Prior to becoming a judge, Judge Beckering was a trial lawyer in private practice for 17 years. She founded the law firm of Buchanan & Beckering, PLC in Grand Rapids, Michigan, primarily focused on representing plaintiffs in civil litigation. She began her law career as an associate with McDermott, Will & Emery, P.C. in Chicago. Judge Beckering received her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1990 and her B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1987.

PATRICIA TOLLIVER GILES
Nominated to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Patricia Tolliver Giles has served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia since 2003, and currently serves as Managing Assistant U.S. Attorney. She previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Major Crimes Unit from 2003 to 2019. She also serves on the Attorney General’s Transnational Organized Crime Task Force, MS-13 Subcommittee. From 2000 to 2003, Ms. Giles was an associate at Cooley Godward LLP. Her work included a wide variety of commercial cases in the areas of contracts, intellectual property, securities, and employment law. Ms. Giles served as a law clerk for Judge Gerald Bruce Lee on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia from 1998 to 2000. Ms. Giles received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1998 and her B.A. from University of Virginia in 1995.

SHALINA D. KUMAR
Nominated to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Chief Judge Shalina D. Kumar has served on the Oakland County Sixth Circuit Court since 2007. She was appointed Chief Judge of the Circuit Court by the Michigan Supreme Court in January of 2018. In addition to her chief judge duties, Judge Kumar retains a full caseload covering both civil and criminal matters. Throughout her years on the bench, Judge Kumar has served as a presiding judge of the Adult Treatment Court, the Chairperson of the Oakland County Criminal Assignment Committee, the bench liaison to the Oakland County Bar Association Circuit Court Committee, a member of the Michigan State Bar Professionalism Committee, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Michigan Judges’ Association. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Kumar was a civil litigator in private practice from 1997 to 2007, including as an associate with Weiner & Cox P.L.C. from 2004 to 2007 and Sommers, Schwartz, Silver & Schwartz P.C. from 2000 to 2004. Judge Kumar graduated from the University of Michigan in 1993 and the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law in 1996.


MICHAEL S. NACHMANOFF
Nominated to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Judge Michael S. Nachmanoff has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia since 2015. Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Nachmanoff served for 13 years in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Virginia, serving as Chief Federal Public Defender from 2007 to 2015, Acting Federal Public Defender from 2005 to 2007, and First Assistant Public Defender from 2002 to 2005. Prior to serving as a federal defender, Judge Nachmanoff was a partner at Cohen, Gettings & Dunham, P.C. He joined the firm as an associate in 1996 and was a partner from 2000 to 2002. At the firm, Judge Nachmanoff’s practice consisted of complex civil litigation, white collar federal criminal defense, and state court criminal cases. Judge Nachmanoff served as a law clerk for Judge Leonie Brinkema on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia from 1995 to 1996. Judge Nachmanoff received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1995 and his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1991. 

COURT OF FEDERAL CLAIMS

ARMANDO O. BONILLA
Nominated to the United States Court of Federal Claims

Armando O. Bonilla has been the Vice President of Ethics and Investigations at Capital One since 2018. Bonilla previously served at the U.S. Department of Justice in a variety of roles from 1994 to 2018. He served as Associate General Counsel for the U.S. Marshals Service from 2017 to 2018; as Associate Deputy Attorney General from 2010 to 2017; as a prosecutor in the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division from 2002 to 2010 and in the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the Criminal Division from 2001 to 2002; and as a trial and appellate attorney in the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch from 1994 to 2001. Mr. Bonilla served as a law clerk for Judge Garrett E. Brown, Jr. on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey from 1992 to 1994.

Mr. Bonilla received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1992 and his B.A. from West Virginia University in 1989.

CAROLYN N. LERNER
Nominated to the United States Court of Federal Claims

Carolyn N. Lerner is currently the Chief Circuit Mediator for the U.S. Courts of the D.C. Circuit, a position she has held since 2017. She was previously unanimously confirmed to head the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, where she served from 2011 to 2017. Ms. Lerner is an adjunct law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, and was previously an adjunct law professor at George Washington University Law School. Ms. Lerner was a founding partner of the civil rights and employment law firm Heller, Huron, Chertkof, Lerner, Simon & Salzman, where she practiced from 1997 to 2011. While at her law firm, from 2003 to 2005, Ms. Lerner served as the federal court-appointed Special Inspector for the Office of Special Inspector at the D.C. Department of Corrections. From 1991 to 1996, Ms. Lerner was a litigation attorney at Kator, Scott, Heller & Huron, a civil rights and employment law firm. She began her legal career as a law clerk for Chief Judge Julian Abele Cook, Jr. on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Ms. Lerner received her J.D. from New York University Law School in 1989, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar, and her B.G.S, with distinction, from the Honors College at the University of Michigan in 1986.

LOCAL D.C. COURTS

SEAN C. STAPLES
Nominated to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Judge Sean C. Staples is a Magistrate Judge assigned to the Criminal and Domestic Violence Divisions on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Staples was an attorney with the Children’s Law Center from 2006 to 2013, last serving as the Guardian ad Litem Project Director. From 2000 to 2006, Judge Staples was a clinical professor in the Criminal Division of the D.C. Law Students in Court Program, supervising law students in the representation of adults and juveniles in D.C. Superior Court. Judge Staples served as a law clerk for Judge Robert E. Morin of the D.C. Superior Court from 1998 to 1999. Judge Staples received his J.D. from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law in 1996 and his B.S. from Syracuse University in 1991.

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