The Senate voted 66-33 on Tuesday to confirm Julien Xavier Neals to be U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey.
Why it matters: Neals is President Biden's first judicial nominee to be confirmed, as Democrats begin a push to "restore the balance" of the courts after the GOP-led Senate confirmed a record number of conservative judges under former President Trump.
- Trump's aggressive judicial appointments were his most lasting, substantive legacy, as he appointed 234 judges to the federal bench — including three Supreme Court justices — in just one term.
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)pledged that Senate Democrats would bring "balance, experience and diversity back to the judiciary" with Biden's nominees.
Background: Neals was previously nominated to serve on the district court by former President Obama in 2015, but his nomination expired after then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to bring it for a vote.
What to watch: There are currently 71 district-court vacancies and nine appeals-court vacancies, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Liberal activists have pushed for 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer to retire while Democrats still have control of the Senate.