Judge Julie S. Sneed and Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
President Biden this week nominated Judge Julie S. Sneed and Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin to the U.S. District Courts for the Middle District of Florida and the District of South Carolina, respectively. The White House said the nominations continue to show Biden’s ongoing commitment to diversify the federal judiciary and ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the multifaceted nature of the United States.
With 32 Black women appointed by Biden already confirmed by the Senate for lifetime judgeships, “The Biden-Harris administration continues to set records when it comes to professional and demographic diversity,” Stephen Benjamin, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and a senior adviser to the President, said in a statement to TheGrio, which first reported the nominations.
Benjamin noted that the number of Black female federal judges appointed under this administration surpasses any single administration in history.
Both Judge Sneed and Judge Austin are exceptionally well-qualified, with impressive legal careers before their nominations. Sneed has served as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Middle District of Florida since June 2015. Before her judgeship, she gained extensive experience as a partner and associate at law firms Akerman LLP and Fowler White Boggs Banker, P.A. Additionally, she worked as a law clerk for Judge James D. Whittemore on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and Judge Chris W. Altenbernd on the Florida Second District Court of Appeal. Her legal education includes a J.D. from Florida State University College of Law and a B.S. from the University of Florida.
Austin has served as a U.S. magistrate judge for the District of South Carolina since 2011. Before her judicial career, she built a solid foundation in private practice at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, where she worked her way up from associate to partner. Austin also served as a law clerk for Judge Matthew J. Perry Jr. on the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. She holds a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law and a B.S. from the University of South Carolina School of Engineering.
Biden’s commitment to increasing diversity on the federal bench has yielded results, with two-thirds of the 148 life-tenured federal judges confirmed so far being women and people of color. This includes a record number of civil rights lawyers and public defenders, which the White House said emphasized the administration’s dedication to promoting fairness and justice within the judicial system.
Among Biden’s most celebrated judicial nominees is Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who made history last year as the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. “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,” White House officials said in a release.