Corinne Beckwith, pictured above, has worked for the Public Defender Service's appellate division since 1999 and has been a supervisor in the division since 2009. A former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, she's also taught law school and was a public defender in Michigan.
Beckwith was a runner-up for D.C. Court of Appeals the last time there was a vacancy, in 2008. In a statement released late Thursday, Obama said she has “proved herself to be not only a first-rate legal mind but a faithful public servant” and that he has “full confidence in her ability, integrity, and independence.”
The nomination requires Senate confirmation. If confirmed, she would succeed Judge Inez Smith Reid on the District’s highest local court for a 15-year term.
Beckwith was on the winning side of a 9-0 Supreme Court per curiam decision in 2004. She argued on behalf of a Michigan state inmate, Shakur Muhammad, who challenged his treatment under prison disciplinary proceedings. The justices reversed a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which had ruled that Muhammad must challenge his underlying conviction before filing a claim related to the disciplinary proceedings.
She has strong ties to Michigan — attending Kalamazoo College and the University of Michigan Law School, working as an appellate attorney in Michigan’s State Appellate Defender Office and teaching criminal appellate practice at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit.
Before going to law school, Beckwith was an assistant press secretary to U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), according to The Grand Rapids Press.
Updated at 2:39 p.m. with additional reporting. National Law Journal photo by Diego M. Radzinschi.