Senate Democrats marked a milestone on Tuesday: they confirmed the first judicial candidate in President Joe Biden’s administration.
The Senate voted 66-33 to confirm Julien Xavier Neals, 56, to a life seat in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Each Democrat voted to confirm Neals, along with 17 Republicans. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Was the only senator who did not vote.
Neals was previously a candidate for this tribunal in 2015, when then-President Barack Obama appointed him. But then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Left Neals’ appointment to dust for more than a year until it expired in January 2017.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) noted the importance of Neals’ confirmation and said he was ready to move on to other Biden choices.
“The first, but certainly not the last, not even close,” Schumer said ahead of the vote. “I look forward to confirming what will be the first of many judicial appointments during the Biden administration.”
Progressive groups are eager to see Democrats make judicial confirmation a top priority now that Biden is in the White House. Thanks in large part to McConnell, confirmed Donald Trump over 230 federal judges for life during his four years as President. This is more than what Obama (175), George W. Bush (206) and Bill Clinton (204) confirmed during their first terms in the White House.
Biden has 18 other judicial candidates awaiting a Senate ruling. One of them, Regina Rodriguez, a candidate for a U.S. District Court in Colorado, is expected to be confirmed later Tuesday.
Since Tuesday there is 80 vacancies in United States district and appellate courts.
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