President Biden nominates South Asian judge for US District Court

Judge Loren L. AliKhan. PHOTO: The American Law Institute

In his 33rd round of judicial nominees, President Biden announced the names of four federal judges April 3, 2023, including one South Asian American woman, Loren L. AliKhan, to serve at the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

The White House announcement said the choices were of highly qualified nominees, who “also continue to fulfill the President’s promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country—both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds.”

AliKhan will have to be confirmed by the US Senate, which may not be difficult as she faced a Senate committee earlier on  Dec. 2, 2021, for her successful confirmation to the DC Appeals Court. Also, according to the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, NAPABA, (, the number of Asian judges confirmed under various Presidents since Eisenhower, shows that while the highest, 22, were confirmed during President Obama’s administration; the Biden administration has the second highest success rate, 18, and it is still just the middle of this President’s four year term, with 3rd place held by President Trump, 13, and the rest trailing far behind.

If confirmed AliKhan would become the first South Asian woman to serve on United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the only active AAPI woman judge on that court, the White House said.

Judge AliKhan has served as a judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals since 2022. In that capacity, she also represents the District’s interests nationally through multistate litigation and amicus curiae briefs.

Previously, she served as Solicitor General for the District of Columbia from 2018 to 2022, and as Deputy Solicitor General from 2013 to 2017. “In my 8 years in the office I have worked on over 2,500 cases in the D.C. Court of Appeals involving issues including administrative law, contract disputes, criminal law, employment discrimination, family law, the Home Rule Act, torts, tax, workers’ compensation, and zoning,” she said in her 2021 testimony.

From 2010 to 2013, Judge AliKhan worked in the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group at O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington, D.C. During her tenure, she had an extensive pro bono practice and assisted with the firm’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Clinic at Harvard Law School and the legal writing program at Yale Law School, according to her bio on

She served as a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2008 to 2009. She also served as a Temple Bar Scholar in London, England, where she worked with Lord David Hope of Craighead on the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

AliKhan is the recipient of several awards, including the National Association of Attorneys General’s prestigious “Senior Staff of the Year” award in December 2020.

Judge AliKhan served as a law clerk for Judge Thomas L. Ambro on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 2007 to 2008 and for Judge Louis H. Pollak on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 2006 to 2007.

She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center in 2006 and her B.A., summa cum laude, from Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 2003.

During her testimony Dec. 2, 2021, before the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Judge AliKhan acknowledged “a few important people” in her life including her husband Justin Noble for his patience and support, and her parents Mahmood and Linda AliKhan, “who instilled in me the values of hard work and public service,” as well as her sister, Leah AliKhan, “who inspires me every day by living a as rich and independent life as a woman with Down syndrome.”

Her father, a cardiologist, was born in British India, and came to the U.S. from Pakistan more than 50 years ago, to settle in Baltimore. Her mother was a nurse.

Adding a bit of humor to her testimony, AliKhan said, “While it is the South Asian stereotype that one’s children should grow up to be doctors, my family has supported, or at least tolerated, my decision to serve my community as a lawyer.”



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