The Russell Report

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What is the latest on President Biden’s judicial nominations here in the Northern District of Georgia? We are happy to see the President nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. After all, she was once an assistant federal defender.

But what about our own assistant federal defender, our compatriot awaiting her own confirmation in the Senate? In January, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted forward the judicial nominations of both Victoria Calvert, of the Federal Defender Program, and Sarah Geraghty, of the Southern Center for Human Rights to the Northern District of Georgia. If confirmed, Victoria will be the first federal defender and second Black woman to serve on our district court bench. You can follow Victoria’s progress on her Ballotpedia page and Sarah’s on her own page here. The nominations have not yet come up for a vote in the full Senate, so we wait.

Photograph courtesy of

The waiting game continues, too, for Ryan Buchanan, the President’s nominee as the next United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. The Senate Judiciary Committee sent the nomination to the full Senate nearly two months ago. Yet the Senate has not yet voted on Buchanan because Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) stands in the way. Cotton has blocked votes on an entire slate of United States Attorney nominees because he is upset that the Department of Justice has not provided lawyers to a handful of United States Marshals sued for their conduct “defending the federal courthouse” during racial-justice protests in Portland, Oregon. Can the DOJ even do that? If confirmed, Buchanan will be the third Black man (and the first in 21 years) to serve as our district’s United States Attorney.

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