Press Release

Candace Jackson-Akiwumi Confirmation A Victory For Public Defenders

June 24, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24, 2021 – The Senate voted today to confirm Candace Jackson-Akiwumi as a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Prior to being nominated, Jackson-Akiwumi has served as a public defender in Chicago, where she represented more than 400 indigent clients over the course of ten years. She will be just the second Black woman to ever serve on the Seventh Circuit, and she is now the only person of color serving on a circuit with jurisdiction over several highly diverse states including Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. Jackson-Akiwumi is also the first woman of color to be nominated and confirmed for the Seventh Circuit since Senate Republicans blocked the nomination of Myra Selby five years ago.

Five of President Biden’s seven appeals court nominees so far have experience as public defenders.

Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron issued the following statement:

“The confirmation of Candace Jackson-Akiwumi is another bold and historic step forward for our courts. President Biden has made an important commitment to transforming our courts through bringing real professional and demographic diversity to the federal bench, and Jackson-Akiwumi’s confirmation is a critically important step in this direction. As a former public defender, Jackson-Akiwumi has dedicated much of her career to ensuring that our criminal justice system serves every American, not just the wealthy and powerful. She will now bring that experience to a powerful seat on the federal judiciary, which has historically excluded this form of legal expertise. With dozens more vacancies waiting to be filled, we are confident the Senate will capitalize on this momentum and continue to confirm President Biden’s exceptional and well qualified nominees.”