Statement of Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel

D.C. Circuit Court nominee and former LDF lawyer Nina Pillard with Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill and Washington, D.C. Office Director, Leslie Proll in the Rose Garden after President Obama's announces Pillard as pick for D.C. CircuitThe NAACP Legal Defense Fund is pleased that President Obama has nominated three individuals to fill longstanding vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.  The D.C. Circuit is the most important federal appeals court in the country.  It has special jurisdiction for reviewing the actions of federal agencies. Filling the vacancies on this important court is critical for effective functioning of our justice system.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has repeatedly called upon President Obama and the Senate to expeditiously nominate and confirm judges who bring racial and professional diversity to this court. The President’s action today is a significant step in that process.  The nominees announced reflect gender, racial and professional background diversity.

Obama Judicial NominationsAmong the nominations announced, we are especially heartened by that of Nina Pillard. Nina worked with us as a litigator for five years before going on to distinguished service at the Department of Justice and Georgetown Law School.  Nina also clerked for the late U.S. District Court Judge Louis H. Pollak, who was a NAACP Legal Defense Fund Board member and served on the team which won Brown v. Board of Education. In the finest tradition of the law, Nina has dedicated her career to public service and legal education.

We are also particularly pleased with the nomination of Judge Robert Wilkins.  Prior to his service on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge Wilkins worked for over a decade for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. 

Both of these nominees possess a background of service in the public interest, which reflects the very best of the legal profession.  With all three nominees, President Obama has advanced both diversity and excellence on this important court.  We look forward to their swift confirmation by the Senate.