President Joe Biden on Feb. 7 announced four judicial nominees in California, New York, and South Dakota, and one nomination for U.S. marshal in Alabama as part of the administration’s latest effort to fill vacancies in Republican-led states and ensure the nation’s courts reflect “diversity.”
In a press release, the White House said the nominations are all “extraordinarily qualified, experienced, and devoted to the rule of law and our Constitution.”
Magistrate Judge Sanket Bulsara was nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He has served in the district since 2017 after working as acting general counsel and deputy general counsel for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, where he had been the deputy general counsel for Appellate Litigation, Adjudication, and Enforcement since 2015.
Judge Bulsara also served as a special assistant district attorney in Kings County, Brooklyn, for six months between 2007 and 2008.
If confirmed, Judge Bulsara would become the first Asian American man to serve as a life-tenured district court judge in New York’s Eastern District.
Elsewhere, Judge Dena Michaela Coggins, the presiding judge of the Juvenile Court of the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento, was nominated for the Eastern District of California.
Judge Coggins has served in that role since 2021, initially as a superior court judge, according to the White House.
She was previously an administrative law judge with California’s Office of Administrative Hearings in the General Jurisdiction Division and the Special Education Division. She served as a supervising attorney and hearing officer at the California Victim Compensation Board.
She also served as a deputy legal affairs secretary for the governor of California. If confirmed, Judge Coggins would become the first black woman district court judge in California’s Eastern District.
Diversity ‘One of Our Greatest Assets’
Meanwhile, Eric Schulte, a partner at Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith LLP since 2006, was nominated for the District of South Dakota. He previously served as a law clerk to the South Dakota Second Judicial Circuit in Sioux Falls.
Judge Camela Theeler was also nominated for the District of South Dakota. She has been a judge for the Second Judicial Circuit of the South Dakota Unified Judicial System since 2018. She previously served as an assistant United States attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Dakota.
The judge also served as a law clerk for the First Judicial Circuit of the South Dakota Unified Judicial System from 2001 to 2002, according to the White House.
If confirmed, Judge Theeler would be the first Republican to serve on the court since former President Ronald Reagan’s era.
President Biden also announced his nomination of Col. John Richardson as U.S. marshal for the Middle District of Alabama. Col. Richardson has been an executive assistant to the president of Alabama State University since 2017.
He was previously director of Public Safety and colonel in the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and, prior to that, served in the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Enforcement Division, rising from the rank of agent to captain and assistant director of the Enforcement Division.
Col. Richardson initially began his career as a police officer in Opelika, Alabama, the White House said.
“These choices also continue 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,” the White House said of President Biden’s nominations.
President Biden’s latest nominations bring the total number of federal judicial nominees during his tenure to 219 and 27 nominees for U.S. marshals. To date, the Senate has confirmed 177 of President Biden’s judicial nominees.
Reuters contributed to this report.