US President Joe Biden has cancelled the nomination of Vijay Shankar as a judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in Washington. The White House on 4 February informed the Senate that it was withdrawing his nomination by ex-President Donald Trump in June.
The Senate had not taken up Shankar’s nomination while Trump was in office and the Republican party had the majority. His was one of 32 nominations, 17 of them for judges, that were held over from the Trump administration that Biden pulled back.
As appointments of judges is a political matter in the US, President Biden appoints them from the pool of ideological soulmates or party loyalists. Even federal prosecutors are appointed on a party line and like judges they have to be approved by the Senate.
In many states, citizens elect judges in general elections just like they elect legislators.
While many political appointees, including prosecutors, leave voluntarily when an administration changes or are fired, judges keep their positions.
When Donald Trump had nominated him, Shankar was the deputy chief of the Appellate Section of the Criminal Division at the US Justice Department. He investigated and prosecuted violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related offences and oversaw 30 lawyers who handle federal criminal appeals and draft Supreme Court briefs.
Shankar was simultaneously an adjunct associate professor at the Washington College of Law of the American University.
Biden is serving as the 46th and current president of the US. A Democrat, he served as the 47th vice president from 2009 to 2017 under Barack Obama and represented Delaware in the United States Senate from 1973 to 2009.
In April 2019, Biden announced his candidacy in the 2020 presidential election. He became the presumptive Democratic nominee in April 2020 and reached the delegate threshold needed to secure the nomination in June 2020. Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris defeated incumbent president Donald Trump and vice president Mike Pence in the general election.