March 19, 2024

Van Hollen, Cardin Hail Senate Confirmation of Nicole Berner for Maryland Seat on U.S. Court of Appeals for Fourth Circuit

Senators had recommended Nicole Berner to President Joe Biden

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) today congratulated Maryland attorney Nicole Berner on her confirmation to a Maryland seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The senators had recommended Berner to President Joe Biden to fill the vacancy created when Judge Diana Gribbon Motz took senior status in September 2022. Both Cardin and Van Hollen introduced her to the Judiciary Committee at her December confirmation hearing. She advanced from the committee in January. The Fourth Circuit hears appeals from the states of Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  It is one of 13 circuit courts sitting just below the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Today, Nicole Berner made history. Her confirmation to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals not only ensures that Marylanders will have a new judge with an unwavering commitment to upholding the rule of law and securing equal justice for all, but also one who is breaking barriers to serve as the Court’s first openly LGBTQ member. With her vast legal experience in fighting for working families and advancing civil rights for underrepresented communities, we know Nicole will serve with honor and integrity on the Fourth Circuit for years to come. I’m grateful that she’s answered the call to public service, and thankful to her family for their support,” said Senator Van Hollen.

“Nicole Berner has been fighting for civil rights and worker rights throughout her career, and I am excited to have her bring this experience and deep knowledge of the law to the federal bench,” said Senator Cardin. “Clearly motivated by a desire to ensure full and fair access to the courts for all Americans, Berner’s personal story and wide range of legal expertise will bring a much-needed fresh perspective to the Fourth Circuit. I thank her and her family, all of whom are about to embark on a new adventure in public service.”

Berner’s nomination was supported by leaders of more than 25 major labor unions as well as over 60 advocacy groups championing civil rights, workers’ rights, and equal justice under the law for all Americans, among others.


Nicole G. Berner is General Counsel to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), where she has practiced as in-house counsel since 2006. Previously, Ms. Berner served as a staff attorney for Planned Parenthood Federation of America in Washington, D.C. from 2004 to 2006. She worked as a litigation associate at Jenner & Block LLP in Washington, D.C. from 2000 to 2004 after working as a visiting attorney at Yigal Arnon & Co. in Jerusalem, Israel, from 1999 to 2000. Ms. Berner served as a law clerk for Judge Thelton E. Henderson on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California from 1997 to 1998 and for Judge Betty B. Fletcher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1996 to 1997. She received her J.D., Order of the Coif, from University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and her M.P.P. from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley in 1996. She received her B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of California, Berkeley in 1988.

Berner is a longtime resident of Montgomery County, Maryland.  She has been an active member of her synagogue and community, and lives with her wife in Takoma Park, Maryland.