Biden nominated an Indian American judge as a federal judge for Michigan


US President Joe Biden has nominated an Indian American chief judge as a federal judge for Michigan, on Wednesday, 30 June.

Biden picked Oakland County Circuit Chief Judge Shalina D. Kumar to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Kumar was appointed chief judge of the Oakland County court in 2018.

Kumar, 50, graduated from the University of Michigan in 1993 and the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law in 1996. She was a civil litigator in private practice from 1997 to 2007, according to her bio.

If confirmed she would be the first judge of South Asian descent in Michigan, the White House said.

In addition to her chief judge duties, Judge Shalina retains a full caseload covering both civil and criminal matters, the White House said.

Throughout her years on the bench, Shalina has served as a presiding judge of the Adult Treatment Court, the Chairperson of the Oakland County Criminal Assignment Committee, the bench liaison to the Oakland County Bar Association Circuit Court Committee, a member of the Michigan State Bar Professionalism Committee, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Michigan Judges’ Association.

Michigan’s Democratic U.S. senators praised Biden’s selections, which require confirmation in a Senate split between Republicans and Democrats.

“Judge Kumar and Judge Beckering are two outstanding and highly qualified women,” U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing said in a statement. “We are confident that they will serve as thoughtful and fair federal judges. We look forward to moving their nominations through the Senate confirmation process.”

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township said he welcomed the nominations, calling Kumar “a highly qualified jurist” who “would reflect Michigan’s rich diversity, as she would be the first Michigander of South Asian descent to serve on the federal bench in our state.” Beckering “is highly respected in Michigan’s legal community,” Peters added in a statement.

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter praised Biden’s elevating Kumar to the federal court, calling her “a legal pioneer to the federal bench.”

She has been a tireless and innovative leader on Oakland’s circuit court and a well-seasoned litigator in private practice,” Coulter said.

She was appointed judge for the 6th Circuit Court in Oakland County, Michigan by former Governor Jennifer Granholm on August 20, 2007, to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gene Schnelz. Shalina was then elected to the court in 2008 and re-elected in 2014.