SEATTLE (AP) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday made two more nominations for the federal bench in western Washington state: Seattle lawyers Jamal Whitehead and Kymberly Evanson.
Whitehead is a civil litigator with the firm Schroeter Goldmark & Bender, where he focuses on workplace discrimination and unfair labor practices.
He recently represented a class of immigration detainees at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma who successfully sued the private prison contractor The GEO Group for back pay, arguing that they should have been granted the minimum wage for cooking, cleaning and other tasks they performed. A federal jury ordered GEO to pay $17.3 million to more than 10,000 current and former detainees.
Whitehead, who is Black and who uses a prosthetic leg, is Biden’s first disabled nominee to the federal bench, said Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who recommended him and Evanson. Biden has emphasized racial, cultural and professional diversity in his court nominations.
“Our federal bench should be filled with judges who are committed to justice and who reflect the diversity of the communities they serve — which is why I am thrilled for Jamal, his family, and the Western District of Washington state,” Murray said in a news release.
Evanson is a partner at Pacifica Law Group. She has represented state, municipal, private and nonprofit clients on constitutional, electoral, public disclosure and administrative issues, including the First Amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to Murray, Evanson has also done significant amounts of pro bono work, with a focus in recent years on clemency cases. Murray called her “steadfast in her commitment to fairness and to justice, especially in her pro bono practice and her work on First Amendment cases.”
Evanson, who is white, received her undergraduate degree from Seattle University and her law degree from Georgetown University.
Whitehead received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and his law degree from the Seattle University School of Law.
Five of Biden’s nominees to the federal bench in Washington state have been confirmed by the Senate: Tana Lin, the state’s first Asian American federal judge and a former public defender and civil rights lawyer; Lauren King, a tribal law expert who is Washington’s first Native American federal judge; John Chun, who is also Asian American; David Estudillo, the son of Mexican immigrants and a former immigration attorney; and Kit Dimke, who is serving in the Eastern District of Washington.