On Tuesday evening, the U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Committee took a break from its confirmation hearing of a former federal defender to cast votes on the nomination of a current federal defender. The full Senate voted to confirm Victoria Marie Calvert to the Northern District of Georgia bench. She fills the seat vacated by now-Senior Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr., and once held by Judge Robert L. Vining, Jr.
Check out the video of the Senate roll call on C-SPAN2. Beneath the dry, quiet scene lies the thundering tide of history. Congress established the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia via the Judiciary Act of 1789, and in those 233 years, Victoria is only the second Black woman and the first federal public defender to serve on the court’s bench.
And how about that C-SPAN2 scoreboard?! Victoria earned an “aye” vote from Senate luminaries like Cory Booker, Diane Feinstein, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Raphael Warnock, and Jon Ossoff. And it was Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) who cast the decisive, fiftieth vote (at the video’s 54:40 mark).
Yes, that means Victoria was both nominated by the White House and confirmed by the Whitehouse.
But these senators have just now learned what we at the Federal Defender Program have known for ten years. Our friend is brilliant, kind, and honorable. And now she is this, too: the Honorable Victoria Calvert.