The U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed civil rights lawyer Nancy Abudu of Georgia Thursday to become the first Black woman to serve on the Atlanta-based U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 49-47 primarily along party lines to confirm Abudu, who faced criticism from Republicans during the confirmation process over her work since 2019 for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
“Nancy is an extraordinarily qualified and experienced jurist who is committed to the U.S. Constitution and upholding the fundamental rights of all people,” said Margaret Huang, the SPLC’s CEO. “She has a brilliant legal mind and will bring the fairness and intellectual vigor this judgeship demands.”
Most recently, Abudu was the director of strategic litigation for the SPLC. She also established the center’s voting rights practice group, a team dedicated to strengthening U.S. democracy and protecting the voting rights of communities of color.
Before that, she worked for the American Civil Liberties Union.
“Nancy Abudu is a champion for justice and a stalwart public servant,” said Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga. “I’m pleased Ms. Abudu, a relentless advocate for the rule of law and a dedicated servant to communities across Georgia and the South, will soon sit on the 11th Circuit Court.”
Abudu’s nomination by President Joe Biden was held up in the Senate by the absence of Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., who missed weeks at the Capitol due to illness before returning earlier this month.
The 11th Circuit has jurisdiction over federal cases arising in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama.
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