By Avalon Zoppo
President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced six nominees to seats on federal trial courts, including Amir Ali—executive director of the MacArthur Justice Center—for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Ali has worked at the center since 2021, litigating cases involving prosecutorial misconduct, police violence and prison conditions. He also directs Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Appellate Clinic and has successfully argued civil rights cases at the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the 2021-2022 term, Ali represented Larry Thompson, who was charged with resisting arrest after trying to block officers from his home in response to a report of child abuse. The charges were later dropped.
The Supreme Court agreed with Ali that Thompson need not present an affirmative finding of innocence to pursue a claim of malicious prosecution but could do so because his case ended without a conviction.
David Bradford, a MacArthur Justice Center board member, praised Ali’s nomination in a statement Wednesday.
“MacArthur Justice Center celebrates Amir’s nomination; we are proud of this recognition of his accomplishment and stature,” Bradford said. “I have known Amir since he was in private practice at Jenner and Block and I have continued to work with him in his capacity as a lawyer at MJC. Amir is a brilliant and experienced attorney who possesses the legal acumen and judgement necessary to be a superb district court judge.”
After receiving his law degree from Harvard in 2011, Ali clerked for Canada Supreme Court Justice Marshall Rothstein and Judge Raymond Fisher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He then worked as an associate at Jenner and Block for four years.
If confirmed, Amir would succeed Judge Beryl Howell, who will take senior status next month. Biden has appointed three judges to the federal trial court in D.C.