For Women’s History Month, meet the Latina federal judges confirmed under the Biden Administration
Fifteen out of the 25 Latino judges confirmed thus far are women, with 117 confirmed judges altogether. It’s a promise fulfilled by the POTUS.
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Women’s History Month should not be relegated to solely a one-month celebration, but as we near the end of March, it is a great time to spotlight women leaders from across the spectrum of society.
In the realm of federal courts, Latina judges have stood out for the number that have been confirmed under the Biden Administration and Senate Democrats.
"This Senate has made history when it comes to our federal courts, confirming more judges than any of the past three previous administrations at this point, elevating the first Black woman to the Supreme Court in Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and bringing meaningful and previously lacking diversity to the federal bench, making our courts more reflective of our country," said Sen. Schumer. "We are proud of how far we have come – and we are just getting started."
Fifteen out of the 25 Latino judges confirmed so far are women, with 117 total judges confirmed. Get to know these esteemed Latina leaders in the courtroom and learn a little more about the impact they made to get the call from Biden.
Judge Myrna Pérez is the first Latina to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. A former voting rights attorney, she’s also the first attorney with her specialty to join a federal appeals court since Thurgood Marshall in 1961.
Pérez began as a policy analyst in the Government Accountability Office. She later became a law clerk for judges Anita B. Brody of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Julio M. Fuentes of the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit.
She joined the Brennan Center for Justice in 2006 and left in 2021 after being confirmed as a federal judge. A native of San Antonio, Texas, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Pérez to the seat vacated by Judge Denny Chi on June 15, 2021. She was sworn in November 2021.
Judge Gina Méndez-Miró is the Biden Administration’s 100th judge to be confirmed by Senate Democrats and is the first openly LGBTQ+ judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. She was previously an appellate judge for the Puerto Rico Court of Appeals.
Méndez-Miró began in private practice as a law clerk in the Litigation Department of the San Juan law firm Goldman, Antonetti, & Córdova. She later became an associate at O’Neill & Borges before working as assistant attorney general for Human Resources at the Puerto Rico Department of Justice.
In 2008, she went on to serve at the Puerto Rico judicial branch, as director of judicial programs of the Office of Court Administration. Two-years-later, she became general counsel and director of the Legal Affairs Office, where she served until 2013.
Judge María del R. Antongiorgi-Jordán was confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico and is the first Clerk of Court to be seated as a District Judge in the District of Puerto Rico’s history.
From 1995 to 2018, she was a partner at McConnell Valdés in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She started her career as an attorney in 1995, and then became a Capital Member of the Labor and Employment Law Practice Group. From 2018 to 2019, she was the chief deputy clerk for the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. From 2019 to 2022, she served as chief clerk.
Antongiorgi-Jordán was nominated on June 15, 2022 and confirmed on Dec. 1.
Judge Camille Lizette Vélez-Rivé, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, is the longest-serving female U.S. Magistrate Judge in the District of Puerto Rico’s history. Born in Puerto Rico, she held the position of Magistrate Judge from 2004 to 2022.
She previously served as a law clerk for Justice Francisco Rebollo López of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court from 1993 to 1994. From 1994 to 1997, she was an associate at Pietrantoni Méndez & Alvarez in San Juan, Puerto Rico. And from 1998 to 2004, she was an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Puerto Rico.
Judge Ana C. Reyes, born in Montevideo, Uruguay, is the first Latina woman and first openly-LGBTQ+ federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Born in Uruguay, she moved to Spain before immigrating to Louisville, Kentucky, as a child.
From 2000 to 2001, Reyes served as a law clerk for Judge Amalya Kearse of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Since 2001, she has been at the law office of Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C. where she was an associate from 2001 to 2009, and elevated to partner in 2009.
Judge Margaret Rose Guzman is the first Latina to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. She previously served as a judge of the Ayer District Court in Middlesex County, Massachusetts.
From 1992 to 2005, she served as a public defender for the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services and was a sole practitioner in Worcester, MA, from 2005 to 2009. From 2009 to 2017, she served as a judge on Dudley District Court. She finally joined the Ayer District Court in 2017 and left in 2023 to become a district judge. Her nomination was confirmed with Vice President Kamala Harris delivering the tie-breaking vote.
Judge Ana Isabel de Alba is the daughter of Mexican immigrants who worked as farmworkers in South Dos Palos, California. She is the first Latina on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.
She previously worked with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project in San Francisco, California, in 2007. From 2007 to 2013, she became an associate at Lang Richet & Patch in Fresno and was promoted to partner in 2013. In October 2018, Governor Jerry Brown appointed her as a judge of the Fresno County Superior Court to fill the seat left vacant by the retirement of Judge Dale Ikeda.
Judge Araceli Martínez-Olguín, born in Mexico City, Mexico, became only the second Latina to ever serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Before her confirmation, she worked at the National Immigration Law Center and the ACLU.
Born in Mexico City, from 2004 to 2006, she served as a law clerk for Judge David Briones of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. She then was an attorney for the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. She also served as the managing attorney at the Immigrants' Rights Project at Community Legal Services. She has also worked at the ACLU and at the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center.
Judge Linda Lopez is the only active former public defender on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Born in Miami to Cuban immigrants, she previously served as a magistrate judge of the same court.
She first started out as a criminal defense attorney in Florida, at a firm and as a solo practitioner. She relocated to San Diego in 2007 where she joined the Office of the Federal Public Defender as a senior trial attorney.
Judge Ruth Bermudez Montenegro is the second Latina nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, she served as a U.S. magistrate judge of the same court from 2018 to 2022.
She was previously an attorney at Horton, Knox, Carter & Foote, LLP in El Centro from 1993 to 2000. Montenegro then served as assistant superintendent for human resources and administrative services for the El Centro Elementary School District in Imperial County and served as director of human resources for the Imperial Community College District.
She was assistant county counsel for Imperial County from 2011 to 2012 and also served as a deputy county counsel IV in 2000. From 2012 to 2013 and again from 2015 to 2018, she served as a judge on the Imperial County Superior Court in California and as the Imperial County Superior Court's Family Support Commissioner from 2013 to 2015.
Judge Nancy Lee Maldonado is the first Hispanic woman to serve as a federal judge on the U.S. District for the Northern District of Illinois. Born in Stokie, Illinois, she previously served as a law clerk for Judge Rubén Castillo of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois from 2001 to 2003. She then joined the law firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland in Chicago as an associate and became a partner in 2010.
Judge Evelyn Padin, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, was the first Puerto Rican and the first Latina president of the New Jersey State Bar Association.
She began as an associate at Linares & Coviello in Bloomfield, New Jersey, from 1992 to 1994. She founded her own practice in 1995 and was the senior managing partner of the Law Offices of Evelyn Padin, and also served as a municipal court judge in Jersey City in 1998.
She previously served as the president of the New Jersey State Bar Association from 2019 to 2020 — and was the first Puerto Rican and Latina to serve in this role. She also served as a trustee to the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey and on the Board of Governors for the New Jersey Association for Justice.
Judge Mia Roberts Perez is only the second Latina to ever serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She was previously a judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas from 2016 to 2022.
Perez worked as an assistant public defender for the Defender Association of Philadelphia from 2006 to 2010, and from 2010 to 2011, was an associate at Friedman Schuman in Philadelphia. She then operated her own law firm, Perez Law LLC, in Philadelphia and was elected to the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas in 2016.
Judge Regina Marie Rodriguez is the first federal district court judge of Asian-American descent in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. She was born in Colorado to a Mexican-American father and a Japanese-American mother.
Her father, Pete Rodriguez, was a former football player who went on to serve as an assistant coach in the National Football League (NFL), making him one of the league's first Latino coaches.
Rodriguez first began as an associate in the law firm of Cooper & Kelly, P.C. from 1988 to 1995. She then served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado from 1995 to 2002 while simultaneously serving as the deputy chief of the Civil Division from 1998 to 1999 and as chief of the civil division from 1999 to 2002.
From 2002 to 2016, she worked in the Denver office of Faegre & Benson LLP as a special counsel until becoming a partner in 2005. She was a partner in the Denver office of Hogan Lovells from 2016 to 2019, and a partner at WilmerHale from 2019 until she was commissioned as a federal judge.
Judge Cristina Dionne Silva, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, was the first woman and the first Latina to serve as Chief of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada.
Silva, from 2007 until 2010, was an assistant state attorney in the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, serving as assistant chief of litigation for the domestic violence unit in 2010. From 2011 to 2019, she served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Nevada. S
She was deputy chief of the criminal division from 2013 to 2018 and chief of the criminal division from 2018 to 2019. From 2019 to 2022, she served as a judge on the Eighth Judicial District Court, Department IX, in Clark County after being appointed by then-Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak.