U.S. District Court Judge Abdul Kallon from Birmingham was nominated Thursday by President Barack Obama to an open judgeship on the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
If he wins U.S. Senate confirmation Kallon would become the first African American from Alabama to serve on that appeals court.
“Judge Kallon has a long and impressive record of service and a history of handing down fair and judicious decisions,” President Obama stated in a press release. “He will be a thoughtful and distinguished addition to the Eleventh Circuit, and I am extremely pleased to put him forward.”
According to a 2009 article in the Birmingham News:
Kallon was raised in Sierra Leone by a single mother who worked at a bank. Her supervisor at the bank was appointed ambassador to the United States and asked Kallon’s mother to come along with him. While his mother worked as a secretary – she went on to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in finance – in Washington, D.C., Kallon and his sister remained in Africa with his grandparents. His mother sent for them a year later, and Kallon came to the United States in 1980 at age 11….
”He is an American success story,” said Shawn Drayton, Kallon’s college roommate and fraternity brother. ”His immigrant experience in coming to America, there is nothing more American than that.”
The 11th Circuit hears appeals from Alabama Georgia and Florida and has judges from all three states on its panel.
“I enthusiastically express my support for the nomination of Judge Abdul Kallon by President Obama for the United States Court of the Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit,” U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., stated in a press release Thursday.
Sewell said Kallon has served with distinction on the federal court for North Alabama “and his elevation to the Eleventh Circuit will continue the tradition of excellence and commitment to justice established by such distinguished Alabama jurists such as Judge Frank Johnson.”
“President Obama saw in Judge Kallon the same qualities of integrity, judicial temperament, collegiality, and keen intellect that has earned him the respect and admiration of his judicial colleagues, attorneys who appeared before his court, and members of the Alabama bar,” Sewell stated. “In nominating Judge Kallon for elevation to the appellate court, President Obama has selected a jurist of impeccable credentials who was rated ‘well-qualified’ by the American Bar Association.”
Sewell stated that if Kallon is confirmed, he would be the first African American jurist from Alabama to serve on the 11th Circuit. “Equally important, the speedy confirmation of Judge Kallon will ensure that Alabama is fairly represented on the court and will fill a two-year vacancy on the Eleventh Circuit that as has created a case backlog that has been deemed a ‘judicial emergency’ by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.”
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued a statement applauding the nomination.
Kallon’s nomination would fill a federal judicial seat that has been vacant since 2013, the Lawyer’s Committee stated. The group also urged the U.S. Senate to prioritize and move forward with a confirmation process to address what it also called a “judicial emergency” that has been created by the vacancy.
“Judge Kallon’s confirmation would mark a significant milestone in the ongoing effort to achieve judicial diversity across our nation,” stated Lawyers’ Committee President and Executive Director Kristen Clarke.
Earlier on Thursday the Lawyers’ Committee and the National Bar Association had announced it is hosting a Feb. 20 panel discussion and press conference regarding the impact of the federal judicial vacancies crisis in the state of Alabama and the need to promote and protect diversity on the bench.
Story adapted from http://www.al.com/