Press Release

Civil Rights Lawyers Feature In Latest Judicial Nominations Slate

June 15, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 15, 2021 – President Biden has issued yet another slate of diverse and highly qualified nominees to be federal judges, as well as two local District of Columbia judges. This slate in particular features nominees with extensive backgrounds in civil rights, experience that will greatly benefit our courts and the people who come before them.

Myrna Pérez, nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, has served as the director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program. She is one of the nation’s top legal experts on voting rights and previously worked for a civil rights law firm.

Jia Cobb, nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, has experience as both a public defender and a civil rights attorney. She has won several prominent cases advocating for African-American workers subject to retaliation and discrimination, and would herself become only the fourth Black woman to ever serve on that court.

Sarah Merriam, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, has a background working with labor unions, political campaigns, and serving as a public defender. She has served as a Magistrate Judge since 2015.

Sarala Nagala, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, currently serves as the Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Unit in the Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s office, where her work has focused on trafficking, hate crimes, and fraud.

Omar Williams, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, has served as a Superior Court Judge since 2016 and previously worked as a state public defender.

Tovah Calderon and Kenia Seoane Lopez are both nominated to D.C.’s local courts. Calderon has extensive experience as a civil rights attorney, while Lopez, a current Magistrate judge, has worked in Domestic Violence and Child Support Divisions of D.C.’s court and legal systems.

Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron issued the following statement:

“President Biden is demonstrating his commitment to ensuring the courts reflect the people they serve. This fourth slate continues to honor a commitment to professional diversity, featuring civil rights lawyers alongside public defenders. With conservatives working to curtail important freedoms like voting rights, access to abortion, and LGBTQ equality, the country will benefit from judges who will move our country forward, not backward. Knowing the looming threat of Mitch McConnell’s intended obstruction, there is absolutely no time to waste in ensuring more nominees like these are confirmed to the federal bench. We applaud the Biden administration for how quickly it is nominating these highly qualified jurists.”