The Honorable Richard Durbin
Senate Judiciary Committee
Dear Chairman Durbin:
On behalf of the Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a national association representing over 120 public interest and civil rights organizations, I write to express strong support for the confirmation of Myrna Pérez to serve as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
At a time when too many are working to undermine our democracy, we ask the Senate to confirm expeditiously Ms. Pérez, to the court of appeals, one of the nation’s leading voting rights and elections experts. Our judiciary needs judges who will protect the rights of all Americans and our democracy. She believes that voting is fundamental and has spent her career working to ensure that every American can have an equal voice in elections. Moreover, if confirmed, she would be one of only two Latino judges serving on the Second Circuit, and the court’s only sitting Latina, bringing critical demographic diversity to the judiciary.
Indeed, Ms. Pérez’s legal career has been impressive, and she is eminently qualified to serve as an appellate judge; she has extensive experience litigating all aspects of complex cases in state and federal courts throughout the country. Ms. Pérez has served as counsel in at least 54 cases across the country, including before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous federal circuit courts of appeal. She has also played a major role in the preparation of six amici curiae briefs to the Supreme Court.
Myrna Pérez was born in San Antonio to parents who immigrated from Mexico and was the first in her family to graduate from college. She received a B.A. from Yale University in 1996, a M.P.P from the Harvard Kennedy School in 1998 and graduated from Columbia Law School in 2003. After receiving her law degree, Ms. Pérez clerked for Judge Anita B. Brody on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and for Judge Julio M. Fuentes on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Excelling at every step of her career, Ms. Pérez joined the Brennan Center Voting Rights and Election Program in 2006 and has since been immersed in litigating and advocating for voting rights and fair elections. Recently, she was a leader in the effort to ensure that voters, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, could vote in a safe and healthy manner.
Among her cases, Ms. Pérez represented Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, among others, in a lawsuit against a Florida law that removed voters from rolls for minor discrepancies in registration records. The law disproportionately harmed Latino voters due to common naming conventions such as including accents and hyphens. Ms. Pérez helped the plaintiffs secure a preliminary injunction that allowed more than 14,000 otherwise eligible citizens to have their names placed back on the rolls in time for Florida’s presidential primary. Ms. Pérez also successfully persuaded a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a district court ruling striking down a Texas photo ID law passed with the intent to discriminate against African American and Latino voters. Ms. Pérez also led the original challenge to the Texas law, which U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos described as “the strictest photo ID law in the country.” She also participated, as an amicus, in a suit challenging the voting system in the Village of Port Chester as violating the Voting Rights Act by diluting Latino votes.
In addition to leading complex litigation, Ms. Pérez has authored reports on the disproportionately long wait times at polling locations for Black and Latino Americans, the impact of disproportionate allocation of election day resources, and the challenge of obtaining voter identification. Ms. Pérez also has significant experience in academia. From 2013 to 2015, she served as an Adjunct Professor of Clinical Law at NYU School of Law, where she taught a student seminar on Policy Advocacy and supervised student clinical work. She has been a lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School since 2016, teaching seminars on election law and civil rights lawyering.
Further, Ms. Pérez has dedicated her non-working hours to serving others through volunteering, including feeding persons who are food insecure with Grace Community Services, teaching Bible studies to inmates with Crossroads Prison Ministries, and serving in various roles at Saint Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, including Pride Coordinator and Congregation President.
Given her exemplary qualifications, the Senate should expeditiously confirm Myrna Pérez to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.