Candace Jackson-Akiwumi Confirmed to Serve on Chicago’s 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Candace Jackson-Akiwumi Confirmed to Serve on Chicago’s 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, President Joe Biden’s nominee for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago (Zuckerman Spaeder LLP)

On a history-making 53-40 vote — with only three Republicans crossing the aisle — the Senate confirmed Candace Jackson-Akiwumi on Thursday for a seat on the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

She will be only the second Black judge to serve on a court dominated by white men since the 7th Circuit held its first session on June 16, 1891.

Once sworn-in — no date is announced — Jackson-Akiwumi will be the only person of color and the first federal public defender on the court.

Jackson-Akiwumi is part of the first wave of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees — picked to reflect diversity in race, gender and, in the case of tapping public defenders, life experience.

During his four years in office, former President Donald Trump did not nominate any Black appeals court judges. Biden’s nominees are “a striking change. There are very few Black women on the appellate bench at the federal level now,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond who studies judicial selections.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the Senate Judiciary Committee chair said in a statement, Jackson-Akiwumi “has devoted her life to defending the rule of law, including spending ten years as a federal public defender—representing hundreds of indigent clients at every stage of the legal process and providing them with their constitutional right to counsel.”

The white-male-dominated judiciary on the 7th Circuit, covering Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, serves a population with more than 7.5 million people of color.

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SOURCE: Chicago Sun-Times, Lynn Sweet

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