Pennsylvania’s Judiciary is Front and Center on President Biden’s Agenda
By: Lourdes Sánchez Ridge
On July 12, 2022, President Biden nominated five new judicial nominees in Pennsylvania including one nominee for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In his latest nominations, President Biden has made it clear that diversity on the bench is essential to our legal system by nominating four women of color out of the five nominations. He nominated the first-ever Asian American to the Third Circuit and the second Latina judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Prior to these nominations, President Biden appointed the first Latina to serve as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Jacqueline Romero.
If confirmed, Cindy K. Chung, will serve on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Chung’s talents and achievements have been previously recognized by President Biden. In November of 2021, President Biden appointed Ms. Chung to serve as the United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Chung served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney leading the Major Crimes Section and Violent Crimes Section, Domestic Violence, Project Safe Neighborhoods, and Border Security. She also served as trial attorney at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Ms. Chung served as an Assistant District Attorney in New York County. She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School and her undergraduate degree from Yale University.
For the judicial nominations for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, President Biden nominated Kelley Hodge, a partner and a trial attorney at Fox Rothschild focusing her practice on areas of higher education, investigations, school safety, civil rights, labor and employment, criminal law and state and federal policymaking. She was the first African American woman to head the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office.
Also, for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, President Biden appointed John Frank Murphy from the law firm of Baker Hostetler focusing his practice on IP litigation. Mr. Murphy attended Harvard Law School where he obtained his law degree and graduated cum laude.
President Biden also nominated two judges serving in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. Judge Mia Roberts Perez has served as a judge in state court since 2016. She was one of only a few Latino judges elected to the Court of Common Pleas at the time. Prior to her judicial position, she concentrated her practice on criminal defense and family law. Judge Kai Scott is also a former criminal defense attorney serving as the Trial Unit Chief and trial attorney for the Federal Community Defender Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Confirmation of all of the nominees is expected. According to the Brennan Center, President Biden has nominated the most diverse candidates to the bench in history. We wish all the nominees our most sincere congratulations.