Transcript of President Obama's apointment of Judge Wilkins to be first Black U.S District Judge for the District of Columbia
6/11/2013, 11:36 a.m.
Now, the good news is last year I put forward another highly qualified nominee -- Sri Srinivasan. And Sri's credentials were also beyond question. And no doubt due to some mounting public pressure, along with the vocal bipartisan support that he received, Sri was unanimously confirmed a few weeks ago, becoming the first South Asian American to serve as a circuit court judge in our nation's history.
So I'm pleased that the Senate acted. I'm glad Republicans chose not to play politics and obstruct Sri's nomination the way they did with Caitlin's. And I'm hopeful that we can now build on that progress, because Sri's confirmation was the first to the D.C. Circuit in seven years. So out of the four vacancies that existed, one has now been filled. There are three seats still vacant on the D.C. Circuit Court -- one of them, by the way -- one of them has been vacant since Chief Justice Roberts was elevated to the Supreme Court in 2005. Anybody who values the role of our courts should find that unacceptable regardless of your party. Which brings me to today. That's why today I'm nominating three outstanding, highly qualified individuals to fill those remaining seats.
Now Patricia Millett is one of our nation's finest appellate attorneys and, until recently, held the record for the most Supreme Court arguments by a female lawyer. She served in the Solicitor General's Office for 11 years, for both Democratic and Republican Presidents. Since then, in private practice, she's represented everyone from large businesses to individual pro bono plaintiffs. And, by the way, as the wife of a retired Navy officer, Patricia has served our nation outside the courtroom as well, as a member of a military family.
Nina Pillard's career has been defined by an unshakeable commitment to the public good. She twice served in the Department of Justice and was an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Her landmark successes before the Supreme Court include defending the constitutionality of the Family and Medical Leave Act and opening the doors of the Virginia Military Institute to female students. And, today, Nina is a professor at Georgetown and, if confirmed, would continue the D.C. Circuit's strong tradition of distinguished scholars going on to serve as judges -- from Antonin Scalia to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
And finally, this is the second time I've called on Judge Robert Wilkins to serve -- because in 2010, I nominated Robert to the D.C. District Court, and the Senate confirmed him without opposition. Before serving with distinction as a federal judge, Robert spent eight years in private practice and a decade as a public defender here in Washington, D.C., providing legal representation to defendants who could not afford an attorney. And throughout his career, Robert has distinguished himself as a principled attorney of the utmost integrity.
So these three individuals are highly qualified to serve on the D.C. Circuit. They have broad bipartisan support from across the legal community. The non-partisan American Bar Association have given them -- each of them -- its highest rating. These are no slouches. (Laughter.) These are no hacks. There are incredibly accomplished lawyers by all accounts. And there are members of Congress here today who are ready to move forward with these nominations, including the Chairman, Patrick Leahy. So there's no reason -- aside from politics -- for Republicans to block these individuals from getting an up or down vote.