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JNC Recommends Candidates for D.C. Superior Court Vacancies

Monday, May 6, 2024

The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission ("Commission") has recommended to the President the names of the six attorneys listed below for his consideration in selecting nominees to fill the judicial vacancies on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia ("Superior Court") created by the retirement of the Honorable Jennifer M. Anderson and the resignation of the Honorable Rupa Ranga. The President has sixty (60) days to select a nominee to fill each vacancy.

The Commission recommends the following candidates to fill Judge Anderson's vacancy:

Saba Bireda, Esq., is the Co-Founder of Brown’s Promise, an organization that works to increase equal access to educational resources and end segregation in K-12 schools. Before founding Brown’s Promise, she was a Co-Managing Partner in the D.C. office of the civil rights law firm Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP. Ms. Bireda served as Senior Counsel in the Office for Civil Rights and the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Education. She also served in legal and policy roles with EducationCounsel, LLC, the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, and the Center for American Progress. Ms. Bireda was a Philadelphia Bar Foundation Fellow, working as a Litigation Associate with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP, and the Education Law Center as a Staff Attorney.

Ms. Bireda is a member of the D.C. Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee and a Board Member of Advocates for Justice and Education, the Washington Leadership Academy, the National Student Legal Defense Network, and Children’s National Hospital. In 2016, Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed her to serve on the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board. The National Law Journal named Ms. Bireda one of Washington, D.C.’s Rising Stars. The Profiles in Diversity Journal recognized her among its Women Worth Watching in Leadership and as a Black Leader Worth Watching. She was also selected to be an inaugural Blume Leader in Residence at Georgetown Law.

Ms. Bireda received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University and her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

Maryam Hatcher, Esq., has extensive legal experience and expertise in environmental law and sustainability. Her diverse legal practice has included due diligence, regulatory counseling, internal investigations, and complex litigation at nationally ranked environmental practices and in-house at a large trade association and a global insurance company. As an attorney with Axiom Law, Ms. Hatcher provides senior-level legal advice and strategic support on sustainability matters for large global companies.

Ms. Hatcher has maintained an active pro bono practice throughout her career, including as lead counsel on cases before the Superior Court. Her leadership in the D.C. Bar includes service on several committees and as a Volunteer Arbitrator for the Attorney-Client Arbitration Board. Ms. Hatcher served as the 30th President of the Greater Washington Area Chapter, Women Lawyers Division, National Bar Association (“GWAC”). Her community engagement includes serving on the Women’s Leadership Group of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and regularly volunteering at local service organizations and schools.

Ms. Hatcher earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Longwood University and her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Howard University School of Law, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Howard Law Journal and was awarded the White & Case Award for Best Published Student Note. While in law school, Ms. Hatcher interned for the Honorable John M. Mott on the Superior Court.

James Graham Lake, Esq., serves as the Chief of the Workers’ Rights and Antifraud Section at the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (“OAG”). Representing the District of Columbia, he supervises the office’s affirmative wage-and-hour litigation to vindicate the rights of District workers in matters before the Superior Court. He also oversees many antifraud matters under the D.C. False Claims Act. Mr. Lake previously served as a trial attorney in the Office of Consumer Protection at OAG, where he regularly represented the District, including as the first chair in a trial to redress deceptive representations made to District tenants.

Before joining OAG, Mr. Lake worked at Bredhoff & Kaiser, PLLC, where he represented local and national labor unions and multiemployer pension plans in various litigation in state and federal court.

Mr. Lake received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College and his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from the New York University School of Law. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Harry T. Edwards on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Mr. Lake also clerked for the Honorable Michael P. Shea, the Honorable Janet Bond Arterton, and the Honorable Mark R. Kravitz on the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.

The Commission recommends the following candidates to fill Judge Ranga's vacancy:

Hon. John W. Lui is an Administrative Law Judge with the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings (“OAH”), where he currently presides over cases involving the Department of Employment Services, the Department of Public Works, the Department of For-Hire Vehicles, the Department of Buildings, and the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection. Judge Lui is also a reserve Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, serving as a Judge Advocate General, where he provides legal advice in the areas of fiscal law, ethics law, employment law, and administrative law. He is a mentor with the Asian American Youth Leadership Empowerment and Development and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund. He is also a regular volunteer with the Capital Area Food Bank and So Others Might Eat.

Judge Lui previously worked for the OAG. At OAG, he represented numerous local government agencies and litigated cases in the Superior Court and various administrative tribunals.

Judge Lui earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Public Policy from American University. Following his undergraduate studies, he served as a youth development volunteer in the United States Peace Corps in Morocco. Judge Lui earned his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (“UDC Law”). At UDC Law, he served as a student attorney in the Housing and Consumer Law Clinic and the General Practice Clinic, providing over 800 hours of pro bono legal service.

Elizabeth “Beth” A. Mellen, Esq., is an Assistant Deputy Attorney General in the Public Advocacy Division at OAG, where she co-supervises a team of over 90 attorneys and staff handling civil enforcement litigation in antitrust, civil rights, consumer protection, elder justice, environmental, government fraud, housing, nonprofit, and workers’ rights matters.

Before joining OAG, Ms. Mellen was a Supervising Attorney and Director of the Eviction Prevention Project at Legal Aid DC. As a legal services attorney for 17 years, she represented low-income tenants and tenant associations across all eight wards in affirmative and defensive claims on various housing issues, primarily appearing in the Superior Court, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, and OAH. Ms. Mellen also engaged in policy work on housing and civil access to justice issues with the Council for the District of Columbia and various District agencies. She served on the Superior Court Advisory Subcommittee on Landlord-Tenant Rules and the Landlord-Tenant Working Group. She is the recipient of the National Law Journal’s Rising Stars 40 Under 40 Award (2015), the National Housing Law Project’s Housing Justice Award (2016), and the D.C. Bar Foundation’s Jerrold Scoutt Prize (2020). Ms. Mellen is also a member of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission.

Ms. Mellen earned her Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College and Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Catherine C. Blake on the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, and she served as the Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr. Appellate Advocacy Fellow with the Public Justice Center.

Nicholas George Miranda, Esq., has been an Assistant United States Attorney (“AUSA”) in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia since 2012. Currently, he is Chief of the Victim Witness Assistance Unit, where he leads a team of more than 30 professionals dedicated to providing services to victims, survivors, and witnesses of crimes in the District of Columbia. Before becoming Chief, Mr. Miranda prosecuted numerous criminal matters in both the Superior Court and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, including, most recently, federal child exploitation offenses and sexual abuse against children. He was awarded multiple special achievement awards for his work, and in 2023, he received the AUSAs John F. Evans and Victor W. Caputy Award in recognition of exemplary service as an advocate in the public interest.

Mr. Miranda is a District of Columbia Children’s Justice Task Force member, the District of Columbia Crime Victim’s Compensation Advisory Board, and the District of Columbia Sexual Assault Response Team.

Mr. Miranda earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Stanley Marcus on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He also worked in private practice at a D.C. law firm in the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group.

Please direct any questions to the Commission's Executive Director at (202) 879-0478 or [email protected].

Members of the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission

The Honorable Marie C. Johns
1400 K Street, NW
Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005-2403
(202) 434-9124
[email protected]

Benjamin F. Wilson, Esq.
7825 Orchid Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20012
(202) 657-2534
[email protected] 

Addy R. Schmitt, Esq.
Harris St. Laurent & Wechsler LLP
1775 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 650
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 617-5791
[email protected]

Vincent H. Cohen, Jr., Esq.
Dechert LLP
1900 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006-1110
(202) 261-3432
[email protected]

Yaida O. Ford, Esq.
Ford Law Pros P.C.
1001 L Street, SE
Washington, DC, 20003
(202) 792-4946
[email protected] 

The Honorable Linda W. Cropp
4001 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC  20011
(202) 726-0505
[email protected]

The Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan
United States District Court
for the District of Columbia
United States Courthouse
333 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 354-3390
[email protected]