Biden Nominates Indian American Shalina D. Kumar to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
President Joe Biden has nominated Shalina D. Kumar to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Kumar has served on the Oakland County Sixth Circuit Court since 2007. She was appointed Chief Judge of the Circuit Court by the Michigan Supreme Court in January of 2018.
In addition to her chief judge duties, Judge Kumar retains a full caseload covering both civil and criminal matters. Throughout her years on the bench, Kumar 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.
Prior to taking the bench, Judge Kumar was a civil litigator in private practice from 1997 to 2007, including as an associate with Weiner & Cox P.L.C. from 2004 to 2007 and Sommers, Schwartz, Silver & Schwartz P.C. from 2000 to 2004. Judge Kumar graduated from the University of Michigan in 1993 and the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law in 1996.
Earlier this month, Zahid N. Quraishi to the District Court of New Jersey on June 10, making him the first Muslim to sit on federal district court. In a rare bipartisan vote, 34 Republicans joined their Democrat colleagues in voting to confirm Quraishi — 83 to16. The 46-year-old Pakistani American now holds a lifetime seat on a U.S. district court in New Jersey.
Biden has also nominated two Indian American judges who are awaiting confirmation. Judge Rupa Ranga Puttagunta is nominated for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; and federal prosecutor Sarala Vidya Nagala is nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. If confirmed, both women will be the first of South Asian descent to serve on their respective posts.
Nagala is currently the deputy chief of the Major Crimes Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Connecticut, a role she has held since 2017. Nagala joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2012 and has served in leadership roles in the office, including as Hate Crimes Coordinator. Previously, she was an associate at Munger, Tolles, & Olson in San Francisco, California from 2009 to 2012.
Puttagunta currently serves as an Administrative Judge for the D.C. Rental Housing Commission. In that role, she resolves appeals taken from the D.C. Office of Administrative Hearings, and assists with the commission’s rulemaking function, including issuing, amending, and rescinding regulations, as per the Judicial Nomination Commission. Prior to joining the commission in 2019, she was a solo practitioner from 2013 to 2019, representing indigent criminal defendants in trial and on appeal.