Biden Nominates Three Women To Federal Trial Court

Biden nominates federal judges

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden nominated three women to the federal bench, including a prosecutor who secured the conviction of a Republican donor dubbed “Minnesota’s Jeffrey Epstein” for sex trafficking, and a California state court judge.

In a statement, the White House highlighted that the three new district court nominees in Minnesota, California, and Pennsylvania reflect Biden’s commitment to increasing diversity on the federal bench.

Biden nominated Superior Court Judge Noël Wise from Alameda County, California, to serve as a life-tenured federal district court judge in California’s Northern District. Previously, Wise was a partner at the law firm Wise Gleicher. He also nominated Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura Provinzino and Mary Kay Costello to serve as federal judges in Minnesota and Pennsylvania’s Eastern District, respectively.

To date, Biden has won Senate confirmation for 201 of his judicial nominees, raising hopes among some Democrats that he may surpass former Republican President Donald Trump’s total of 234 appointments to the federal bench over four years. However, Democrats hold a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate, and Biden’s ability to confirm more judges faces complications due to a decision by 14 Senate Republicans to oppose further judicial nominees following Trump’s May 30 conviction in New York state court related to hush money paid to a porn star.

Provinzino, who has served as a federal prosecutor since 2010, played a key role in securing the sex trafficking conviction last year of Anton “Tony” Lazzaro, a businessman and Republican donor sentenced to 21 years in prison for recruiting teenage girls for sex. Provinzino once served as the president of the Infinity Project, a group advocating for gender equity and increased diversity on the bench.

Wise, first appointed to the bench by Democratic former California Governor Jerry Brown in 2014, has written opinion pieces on public issues such as LGBTQ rights, diversity, and homelessness. Some of her writings could attract opposition from Republicans. In a 2017 piece in Time, Wise argued that the country’s “stringent adherence to a two-sex paradigm is inconsistent with science and incongruous with the historic and modern understanding of sex throughout many regions of the world.”

Costello has served as a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania since 2008. Before that, she worked at two law firms in Philadelphia and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1986 to 1994.