New Biden Appointees Set to Diversify US Attorney Leadership Positions Across U.S.

Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins speaking in San Francisco in February 2020

By Paulina Buelna and Marcia Barajas 


WASHINGTON D.C. – The Biden administration is taking action to add eight new leaders to U.S. attorney positions that oversee hundreds of cases – six of the positions will be filled with “firsts” in regards to race and gender.


If confirmed by the Senate, the eight nominees will run offices in the District of Columbia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington state. It would be the first time a Black or female attorney will be leading their districts, the Biden administration stated.


The nominations were chosen based on “their devotion in law, professionalism, experience in the law field, and perseverance in pursuing legal justice for all,” said the administration.


The eight nominees are Erek L. Barron, for the District of Maryland, Nicholas W. Brown, for the Western District of Washington, Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia, Clifford D. Johnson for the Northern District of Indiana, Zachary A. Myers for the Southern District of Indiana, Rachael S. Rollins for the District of Massachusetts, Trini E. Ross for the Western District of New York, and Vanessa Waldref for the Eastern District of Washington.


Rollins is the first Black woman to serve as Suffolk County’s district attorney, and now she’ll be chief U.S. attorney for Massachusetts. The U.S. attorney is top federal law enforcement, overseeing more than two hundred federal prosecutors.


U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey recommended Rollins, and stated that she is a “national leader on transforming the criminal justice system….”


Environmental lawyer Vanessa Waldref will be the first woman to run the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Washington, the White House stated. Nevertheless, she has worked as a trial attorney in the Justice Department since 2020 and as a professor at Gonzaga Law School since 2015.


The lawyers represent the first batch of U.S. attorney nominees, the White House announced it would elect one to run its anti-trust diversion, however, also withdrew its head nominee for the civil diversion. Likewise, no nominee has yet been announced for the key solicitor general position.


The nominees announced Monday are set to fill out Attorney General Merrick Garland’s team and help push his agenda of cracking down on gun violence, among other matters.

About The Author

Paulina Buelna is a second year History of Public Policy and Law major at UC Santa Barbara and aspires to become an attorney. She is from Los Angeles, CA and hopes to attend law school after graduation in the year 2024.

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