President Biden announced three more nominees on Friday to sit in federal courts in California, including the first gay judge, the first Chinese-American woman and the second Latina to sit in their respective courts.
If confirmed, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Dainel Calabretta would be the first openly homosexual judge to sit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California, according to a press release from the White House. Calabretta was one of the eight nominees announced by Biden to sit in federal courts and each must be approved by the US Senate, for which 51 votes are needed to be confirmed.
Biden also nominated judge Rita Lin and lawyer Araceli Martinez-Olguin before the American court for the northern district of California. If confirmed, Lin will be the second Asian-American Pacific Islander woman and the first Chinese-American woman on the field. Martinez-Olguin would be the second Latina.
The last series of nominees represents the 24th time that Biden has nominated people for federal judicial positions, which brings the total of federal nominees to 132.
Calabretta became the first openly gay man who was appointed in 2019 as a member of the Sacramento County Superior Court. Previously, from 2013, Calabretta was deputy secretary for legal affairs of the former Governor Jerry Brown. He was also deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice from 2008 -13.
From 2005-2008, Calabretta was an employee at Munger Tolles in Los Angeles and Klerk for Justice John Paul Stevens at the American Supreme Court, according to the press release of the White House. He obtained his bachelor’s degree at Princeton University and his diploma at the University of Chicago Law School in 2003.
Lin has been a judge in the Superior Court of San Francisco County since 2018 and, according to the White House from 2014 to 18, was an assistant lawyer in the US for the Northern District of California. She was a partner at Morrison and Forester LLP and lawyer at Judge Sandra Lynch at the American Court of Appeal for the first circuit.
Martinez-Olguin has been a lawyer at the National Immigration Law Center since 2018 and previously worked at the Immigrants’ Rights Project at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto. She was a lawyer for the Office of Civil Rights of the US Department of Education, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Origin and Immigrants’ Rights Program of Legal Aid at Work.
The White House of Biden noted that there are several nominees and said that the choices “ensure that the courts of the country reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets – both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds.”
Biden also nominated Julie Rikelman, an abortion rights lawyer who recently represented the Mississippi clinic in the center of the decision of the American Supreme Court for the Roe vs. Wade decision from 1973, which set a federal right to abortion, to undo. Rikelman was nominated for the American circuit court for the first circuit and acts as the US Litigation Director for the Center for Reproductive Rights. Before that she was Vice-President Process Affairs at NBC Universal, senior employee at Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLP and employee at Feldman & Orlansky.