The Volokh Conspiracy

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How old will President Biden's judicial nominees be?

Which side of 50 will the nominees be on?


According to reports, President will soon release his first raft of judicial nominees. The messaging has been consistent: Biden will focus on adding racial and gender diversity to the judiciary. But what about age diversity? By all accounts, the Trump Administration placed a lot of weight on age for these lifetime appointments. By my count, the average age of Trump Circuit nominees was about 47. By contrast, nominees from Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Bush 43 were over 50; Reagan and Bush 41 were just a shade below 50.

How old will the Biden nominees be? Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a leading contender, turned 50 last September. President Trump's three nominees were 53 (Katsas), 45 (Rao), and 37 (Walker).

Buzzfeed also reports that a possible nominee for a seat on the District for the District of Columbia will be Abid Qureshi, a partner at Latham Watkins. President Obama had nominated Qureshi to DDC in 2016, but his nomination lapsed. I could not find his birthday, but he graduated college in 1993. I'll presume he was born circa 1972. That would make him about 49. President Trump named four nominations to DDC. They were 50 (Friedrich), 49 (Nichols), 48 (Kelly), and 39 (McFadden). If Qureshi is the pick, he would skew towards the upper-end of the spectrum.

One other related note: if Judge Brown Jackson is selected for the D.C. Circuit, then she is probably not the first SCOTUS pick for the Breyer nomination. (I presume that Justice Breyer has already told President Biden he will step down). It would be pointless to go through two confirmation hearings in the span of about six months. There is too much of a risk. If Judge Brown Jackson is nominated for the D.C. Circuit, we can safely presume that Justice Kruger has the Breyer seat locked up. I suspect Justice Kruger declined the Solicitor General position twice to avoid an unnecessary confirmation hearing. And Justice Kruger is 44, five years younger than Justice Barrett.