February 10, 2021 at 12:38 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Pannell named to judicial nominating commission
Phil Pannell, gay news, Washington Blade
Ward 8 community leader Phil Pannell was named to a commission that will help recommend to President Joe Biden the nomination of federal judges. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton earlier this month named longtime D.C. LGBTQ rights advocate and Ward 8 community leader Phil Pannell to a commission that will help Norton recommend to President Joe Biden the nomination of federal judges and other federal law enforcement officials in D.C. 

Pannell will serve as one of 14 members of the Federal Law Enforcement Nominating Commission that Norton created to help her make recommendations to Biden on who he should nominate as judges for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and for the positions of U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshall for D.C. 

“President Biden, like Presidents Clinton and Obama, granted Norton senatorial courtesy to recommend candidates for federal district court judges and other important federal law enforcement officials in the District,” a statement released by Norton’s office says. “The Commission will screen and recommend candidates to Norton, who will make recommendations to Biden,” the statement says. 

“The Commission is comprised of lawyers and non-lawyers from across the District,” according to the statement. 

U.S. presidents have traditionally turned to the senior U.S. senator from their political party in each state to recommend the names of qualified nominees for federal judgeship and other law enforcement positions in their respective states. Clinton, Obama, and now Biden have extended that courtesy to Norton. 

In a Dec. 22 letter to Democratic senators and to Norton, Biden’s designee to become White House Counsel, Dana Remus, said Biden was eager to nominate individuals who reflect the best of America and who “look like” America. 

“We therefore ask that you propose talented individuals who would bring to these critically important roles a wide range of life and professional experiences, including those based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, veteran status, and disability,” the letter states.

Pannell currently serves as executive director for the Anacostia Coordinating Council, a Ward 8 community advocacy organization. He is also a member of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, which serves as the governing body for the D.C. Democratic Party.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2021. All rights reserved.