Dear Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Grassley, and Committee Members:
On behalf of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), and its 4,000 national, circuit, state, and local affiliate members across the country, we write to express our strongest support for the confirmation of Nancy Abudu to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
NELA is the largest professional membership organization in the country comprised of lawyers who represent workers in labor, employment, and civil rights disputes. Founded in 1985, NELA empowers workers’ rights attorneys through legal training, promoting a fair judiciary, and advocating for laws and policies that level the playing field for workers. Our members litigate daily in every federal district and circuit, affording NELA a unique perspective on the profound impact of the judiciary on the daily lives and the rights of working people.
Ms. Abudu’s extensive litigation experience, her exemplary professional credentials, and her outstanding educational background, make her eminently qualified to serve as a federal appellate judge. Ms. Abudu received her undergraduate degree at Columbia University. She earned her law degree at Tulane University Law School where she served as Managing Editor of the Tulane Environmental Law Journal. While in law school she worked at the school’s Environmental Law Clinic where she represented low-income Louisianans in a legal fight to protect their community from exposure to extremely toxic substances.
After graduating from law school, she worked at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP, where she practiced commercial litigation. She also represented domestic violence survivors on a pro bono basis at the Legal Aid Society. She was awarded the organization’s Outstanding Pro Bono Representative Award in 2001. Ms. Abudu then served as a Staff Attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit for two years.
Ms. Abudu joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Voting Rights Project in Georgia in 2005, where she handled voting rights litigation for eight years. In 2013, she was hired as the Legal Director for the ACLU of Florida where she managed litigation on a wide range of civil rights issues, including free speech, religious freedom, and employment discrimination cases. In 2019, Ms. Abudu was hired as the Deputy Legal Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center where she created the Center’s Voting Rights Practice Group and supervised litigation in the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits. Ms. Abudu’s robust appellate practice has included representation before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous federal circuit courts of appeal.
Ms. Abudu has led all aspects of complex litigation in both state and federal courts and is a leading civil rights litigator and voting rights expert. If confirmed, Ms. Abudu will bring impressive professional credentials to the court. In addition, she will bring important demographic diversity to the Eleventh Circuit. Ms. Abudu is a Black woman who is the daughter of immigrants from Ghana. If confirmed, she will be the first Black woman to sit on this court. To achieve fair courts for all, our courts must reflect the communities they serve and include judges who bring varied professional experiences to the bench. Ms. Abudu’s confirmation will move us closer to the day when our courts truly reflect the diversity of the communities that engage with them. Her civil rights background will also expand the range of professional experiences on the Eleventh Circuit.
Ms. Abudu’s commitment to civil rights and equal justice for all, as well as her deep experience litigating complex matters, form the basis of our strongest endorsement. We urge her swift confirmation.