New slate of judges to take the bench in DC

Seven new judges will take the bench in D.C. after being confirmed Thursday by the U.S. Senate.

Most of the judges will preside over cases in D.C.’s Superior Court, while one will sit on the D.C. Court of Appeals.

The judges who were confirmed are:

  • Errol Arthur (DC Magistrate Judge)
  • Kendra Biggs
  • Laura Crane
  • Leslie Meek
  • Carl Ross
  • Veronica Sanchez
  • Vijay Shanker (DC Court of Appeals)

Judges for the District’s court system are appointed by the president and require confirmation from the Senate.

The D.C. Judicial Nomination Commission submits three potential candidates to the president, who then chooses to appoint a nominee. If the president doesn’t appoint a candidate, the commission chooses one to go before the Senate for confirmation.

“I thank Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Gary Peters for getting seven judicial nominees to the local D.C. courts confirmed last night,” said Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s lone congressional representative.

“However, the length of time it took to get them confirmed only reinforces the need for Congress to pass my bill that would eliminate the Senate confirmation requirement for local D.C. judges,” she continued. “The perpetual judicial vacancy crisis in the local D.C. courts harms public safety and access to justice. It is untenable.”

D.C. Courts said in a statement that the District’s court system will still have 11 judicial vacancies between the Court of Appeals and the Superior Court by the end of February.

“Those vacancies lead to delays in justice for victims & survivors, delays in holding harm accountable, delays in family & probate court — throughout our Courts,” Charles Allen, the D.C. Council’s Ward 6 representative, said in a tweet Thursday.

He continued by saying he welcomed the new judges, but urged Congress to make filling the vacancies a priority.

Norton said in her statement that filling seats on D.C. courts has been a bipartisan challenge given that the Senate prioritize federal judicial and executive branch nominees over local D.C. judges.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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