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Nancy Abudu Confirmed as First Black Woman on Eleventh Circuit

Senate confirmed Nancy Abudu to serve as an appellate judge on the Eleventh Circuit.

Ms. Abudu led extensive voting rights litigation, research, and advocacy across the country to protect the fundamental right to vote and ensure equal justice under the law.

Nancy Abudu made Black history on Thursday after being narrowly confirmed to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The lawyer for the Southern Law Poverty Center has become the first Black woman judge to serve on the powerful court that is based in Atlanta and has jurisdiction over nine highly consequential district courts, including in Georgia and Florida where voter suppression reports have run rampant.

Abudu was confirmed following a U.S. Senate vote that was largely along party lines, with the Democrats’ slim 49-47 majority making the difference.

That was true even as West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, broke party ranks and voted against Abudu’s confirmation — the first time the so-called centrist senator has voted against any of Biden’s judicial nominees.

The following is a statement from Damon Hewitt, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

“Nancy Abudu’s distinguished career has been defined by her unwavering commitment to protecting voting rights for Black and Brown communities.”

Damon Hewitt said

“Her work, including her involvement in People First of Alabama v. Merrill, where she successfully challenged an omnibus Alabama voter restriction law, proving it to be a violation of the Voting Rights Act and Americans with Disabilities Act, has exemplified her dedication to championing the principles of equality and justice. She has not only worked tirelessly for these communities who have given so much for the betterment of our country, but also prepared herself to be a judge that upholds these same principles.”

“Our staff at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has had the honor of litigating cases alongside Ms. Abudu during her time at multiple leading civil rights organizations. In every case and matter she led with integrity, humility and with fidelity to the laws that protect our civil rights.”

Abudu’s confirmation was a long time coming.

Biden nominated her to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in late 2021. It would take nearly two years of various stages of Republicans trying to block her nomination before Abudu was confirmed on Thursday.

During her confirmation hearing in April 2022, Abudu was sharply questioned by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee because the SPLC lawyer previously described the group as having “white supremacists” among their ranks.

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Written by Rene Harris