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USC alumna DeAndrea Benjamin confirmed to federal court

DeAndrea Benjamin stands next to a piano with a bookcase and a U.S. flag in the background

The U.S. Senate voted 53-44 to confirm DeAndrea G. Benjamin to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. Benjamin is a 1997 alumna of USC’s School of Law.

Benjamin earned the support of both of South Carolina’s Republican senators, Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott.

The 4th Circuit hears appeals from South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Appeals of the court’s rulings are heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

An important position:  “It is a very powerful and important court, and often has the last word on almost every case,” professor Carl Tobias of the University of Richmond Law School told The Post & Courier of Charleston. 

Background: Benjamin, a native of South Carolina who is married to former Columbia mayor Steve Benjamin, has served for the past decade on South Carolina’s 5th Judicial Circuit. She has also been active in the community, serving on the SC Bar Board of Governors; the SC Bar Young Lawyers Division (chair, 2006-07); the Children’s Law Committee (chair, 2010-11); the Sexual Trauma Services Board; the North Main Street Redevelopment Advisory Committee; and the EdVenture Children’s Museum Board.

Making history:  Benjamin becomes only the second woman of color to serve on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. As of Jan. 26, according to The Washington Post, 33 of President Joe Biden’s 42 confirmed judicial appointees have been women, and 29 identify as Black, Asian, Native American, Hispanic or multiracial. 

USC connections: Benjamin joins USC law alumnus Judge Marvin Quattlebaum Jr., ‘89, who also serves on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

What they’re saying: “A proud product of South Carolina public schools and universities, Judge Benjamin is an experienced jurist with the wealth of knowledge and varied life experiences necessary to serve with distinction,” South Carolina's U.S. Rep. James Clyburn said.