Tiffany Cunningham was confirmed by the Senate on Monday (July 19) to take the bench on the US Court of Appeals, making her the third Black woman judge to be appointed and confirmed to the federal court.
Cunningham’s historic confirmation also marked a milestone for President Joe Biden who has been credited with appointing more Black women to the US Appeals Court than nearly any other president.
In our nation’s history, there have only been 11 Black women to receive Senate confirmation to the federal court of appeals since the courts were established in 1789, according to the Federal Judicial Center. Compare that group of 11 Black women to the 838 people who’ve ever served as federal appeals court judges, and the confirmations of Cunningham, Ketanji Brown Jackson, and Candace Jackson-Akiwumi become even more meaningful.
Bill Clinton is the only other president to appoint as many Black women to federal appeals courts, though those seats were filled over the course of four years, while Biden reached the milestone within the first six months of his presidency.
Former President Barack Obama appointed two Black women to federal appeals courts during his terms, and appointed Loretta Lynch as US Attorney General, the first Black woman to assume the role.