Biden Nominates 2 Judges to US District Court in Chicago

President Joe Biden departs the White House on Jan. 13, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images / via CNN)President Joe Biden departs the White House on Jan. 13, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images / via CNN)

(CNN) — President Joe Biden plans to nominate four people to federal judge positions on Wednesday, including a red state district court nominee who has the required support of their state’s Republican senators — essential endorsements that previously proved to be a challenge for the Democratic administration.

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CNN has learned that the president’s first slate of judicial nominees this year includes Michael Delaney to the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals, Amanda Brailsford to the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, as well as Jeffrey Cummings and LaShonda Hunt for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

This latest list marks Biden’s 29th round of nominees for federal judicial positions, bringing the number of announced federal judicial nominees to 154 since the start of his presidency.

More lower court judges have been confirmed during the first year of his presidency than any other since the Kennedy administration. However, Biden and Senate Democrats’ efforts to nominate judges in the South and among states with two Republican senators have stalled.

Brailsford has served as a judge on the Idaho Court of Appeals since 2019, appointed to the role by former Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, a Republican. She was recommended to the federal role by, and maintains the support of, her home state senators, Republicans Mike Crapo and James Risch, who served as lieutenant governor for the state during Otter’s governorship.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the nomination process for judges appointed by Biden, will not hold a hearing on a district court nomination, like Brailsford’s, unless both home-state senators have signed off as a part of what’s referred to as the “blue slip” process. These blue slips of paper, as they are relayed to the committee, are intended to signify that a home-state senator has been consulted in the president’s choice.

A nominee Biden brought forward in December, Matthew Brookman for the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, had the support of the state’s pair of Republican senators as well.

The Biden judicial nominations with GOP support come amid the White House’s emphasis on reaching across the aisle in a now-divided Congress. But the Biden White House’s past efforts to reach deals with Republicans on judicial nominees have not always panned out.

Last year, the White House scrapped Biden’s plans to nominate an anti-abortion Republican as a federal judge in Kentucky, citing opposition to the nomination from Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul. The nomination had been described by people with knowledge of the matter as part of a potential deal with Kentucky GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Prior to working for a law firm, Delaney, Biden’s intended nominee for the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals, was the attorney general of New Hampshire from 2009 to 2013 and legal counsel to the governor of New Hampshire from 2006 to 2009. He had also served in a number of legal roles at the New Hampshire Department of Justice since 1999.

New Hampshire’s two Democratic senators, Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, urged the Senate to swiftly confirm Delaney, calling him “exceedingly qualified” and “well suited to serve in this role with distinction.”

A White House statement provided to CNN said the slate of nominees announced on Wednesday continues “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.”

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