Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The White House is quietly working with Senate Democrats to ensure President Biden has a steady stream of nominees for the federal courts, according to people familiar with the matter and an administration official.

Why it matters: Biden wants the federal judiciary to better reflect the country’s demographics, and to try to shield his unfolding legislative agenda from a judiciary currently dominated by Trump appointees.

  • With Democrats in control of the White House and Senate, liberal-minded federal judges are already announcing their retirement.
  • The administration's first nominee announcements are expected this month but could slide to April.

The intrigue: Allies outside the White House say D.C. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is Black and 50, is likely to be nominated for a spot on the prestigious D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

  • That could prepare her for the Supreme Court, should 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer retire.

Driving the news: The White House counts 10 appellate court openings, including two on the D.C. appellate court, and about 60 vacancies in federal District Courts.

  • It's placing a premium not just on ethnic diversity but candidates' background and experience, looking to draw judges from outside the usual pool of corporate appellate attorneys.
  • Age will matter, but not as much as it did to Trump.
  • "We are making sure that there's a pipeline ready,” an administration official said. “We want a steady supply."
  • Biden may not be able to match the former president's imprint on the courts — he got 234 federal judges confirmed, including three Supreme Court justices — but has signaled to Democrats he plans to move quickly to fill the vacancies he can.

Between the lines: In December, incoming White House Counsel Dana Remus asked Democratic senators to send the White House names of potential U.S. District Court judges within 45 days of any vacancy announcement.

  • The White House will take the lead for the more powerful Circuit Court judgeships, one rung below the Supreme Court.
  • It's also considering announcing a slate of nominees, as President George W. Bush did during a Rose Garden ceremony in May 2001.
  • The strategy would be to blitz the public — and the Senate — with a display of diversity while also showing strength in numbers.

What they're saying: "If you have a slate of judges, it gives you an opportunity to have diverse public defenders, civil rights lawyers and labor lawyers to really show the breadth of the legal profession and what Biden is trying to accomplish in a way that you can't with just one or two judges," said Christopher Kang, co-founder and chief counsel of Demand Justice.

  • The Biden administration isn't ready to publicly unveil its strategy.
  • "It's less about whether the first nomination is singular or plural," said the administration official. "The lesson learned was you need to have a steady drumbeat of nominees."

Go deeper

Mar 3, 2021 - World

International Criminal Court opens Israel-Palestine war crimes probe

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly objected to the investigation. Photo: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Wednesday announced her intention to open an investigation into crimes allegedly committed in the Palestinian territories since 2014.

Why it matters: The investigation is expected to consider possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas during the 2014 war in Gaza, as well as the construction of West Bank settlements by Israel. It could sharply increase tensions between Israel, which fiercely opposes the probe, and Palestinian leaders, who requested it.

House Dems set for fresh months-long fight for Trump financial records

Former President Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Hyatt Regency on Feb. 28. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The House Oversight Committee is preparing for a months-long battle seeking to obtain access to former President Trump's financial records, per a legal schedule outline proposed by their counsel Doug Letter on Tuesday.

Why it matters: House Democrats say obtaining Trump's records would "promote transparency, enhance public confidence in the integrity of elected officials including the President, and prevent grave conflict of interests for this and any future presidents."

Progressives ready challenge to Democratic old guard

Rep. Steny Hoyer. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Progressive Democrats, including two who are Black, are lining up to challenge House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer even before Maryland sets the date for its 2022 primaries.

Why it matters: Recent progressive victories for Reps. Cori Bush in Missouri and Jamaal Bowman in New York, plus the country's changing demographics and post-#MeToo and George Floyd eras, are giving organizers and candidates new hope that the political landscape is changing and rewarding diversity.