Following in the historic steps of Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Myrna Pérez has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a new federal appeals judge.
Suzanne Gamboa of NBC News reported that “the Senate voted Monday, Oct. 25, to confirm voting rights advocate Myrna Pérez as a judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, making her the only Latino on the court and its first Latina since Sotomayor was confirmed for the Supreme Court.”
Pérez was confirmed in a relatively close 48-43 vote by the Senate.
In a statement following her confirmation, Carlos Bollar, national president of the Hispanic National Bar Association, said Pérez was “an exceptional lawyer that has demonstrated throughout her career that she has the experience, intellect and temperament it takes to be an extraordinary judge of the U.S. appeals court.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York also sang her praises, calling Pérez an amazing person, saying, “with the national focus on voting rights now, it’s a significant step to elevate Ms. Perez.”
According to Gamboa, “Pérez is the former director of voting rights and elections programs at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, which has been critical of voter ID laws and laws shortening the time for early voting, as well as other measures restricting voting.”
Brian Fallon, co-founder and executive director of the judicial reform group Demand Justice, was also quick to praise Pérez’s appointment, saying, “with voting rights under attack across the country, Myrna Pérez’s confirmation will bring the kind of deep expertise in voting law the federal bench needs right now.”
“Her work as a voting rights lawyer will allow her to bring a much-needed perspective to a federal bench that is skewed in favor of corporate and government interests,” he added.
Born in San Antonio, Pérez has a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University, and a law degree from Columbia University. She is a first-generation college student and the daughter of a radio communications consultant and a customer service manager for the U.S. Postal Service. Both her parents immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico and are said to have worked tirelessly to help their daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college.
In a tweet of support for Pérez, Georgia’s Stacey Abrams said, “I could not be more proud of my friend [Myrna Perez’s] confirmation to the Second Circuit. We are fortunate to add to the bench a civil rights attorney who has fought fastidiously for the freedom to vote and who believes in the promise of equal protection for all.”