Nancy Gbana Abudu Nominated to Fill Georgia Seat on Court

On December 23, 2021, President Biden nominated Nancy Gbana Abudu to replace Judge Beverly Martin on the Eleventh Circuit. The nominee is currently Deputy Legal Director and Director for Strategic Litigation at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Previously, she served as Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and Senior Staff Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union Voting Rights Project. She served as a staff attorney on the court from 2002–2004 and began her career with a two-year stint at Skadden Arps after graduating from Tulane University School of Law in 1999. According to the White House’s announcement, if confirmed she “would be the first African-American woman judge ever to sit on the Eleventh Circuit, the second woman of color ever to sit on that court, and only the third African-American judge ever to sit on that court. She would also be the first person of color to serve on the Eleventh Circuit from Georgia.”

Her experience and background are markedly different from members of the court appointed by President Trump. But, if confirmed, she seems unlikely to change the court’s ideological balance much, since Judge Martin was the court’s most consistently liberal member. Both Georgia Senators are now Democrats, which bodes well for her Senate confirmation prospects.

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