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Holly Thomas was confirmed as judge for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday by a 48-40 vote in the Senate, despite objections from the Republican Party.
Thomas will be the second Black woman to serve on the Ninth Circuit. She currently serves as a judge on the Los Angeles Superior Court in California, and was formerly an assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She also worked as a deputy director of California’s housing and employment agency and special counsel to the New York solicitor general.
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Thomas has been a controversial pick for President Biden as GOP opponents accused her of being a far-left progressive. Her nomination was deadlocked coming out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by an 11-11 vote along party lines.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, accused Thomas of being an “activist advocate” during her confirmation process.
“You testified to this committee that you were not aware of what happened in Loudoun County until this morning,” Cruz said during a committee meeting. “I find that remarkable for someone who has spent years as one of the leading activists for allowing transgender biological men to use girls’ restrooms and women’s restrooms.”
The senator was referring to two high-profile sexual assaults that occurred in Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia.
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President Biden saw a record number of his circuit and district court nominees confirmed by the Senate in his first year in office, leaving his own mark on the federal courts. Over the course of 2021, the Senate confirmed 40 of Biden’s nominees to circuit and district courts across the nation – the most in one year since former President Reagan was in office.
Former President Trump nominated over 200 candidates to judgeships during his four-year term.
The National Women’s Law Center applauded Thomas’ confirmation in a tweet.
“Congratulations to Judge Holly Thomas on her confirmation and being the first Black woman to serve on the 9th circuit in CA! We know she’ll continue the important work of fighting for civil rights and gender justice protections she’s done throughout her career.”
Fox News’ Kelly Phares and Dom Calicchio contributed to this report.