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Judge Raúl Arias Marxuach Nominated to First Circuit Court of Appeals

Judge Raúl Arias Marxuach has been nominated by Donald Trump to fill the seat on the First Circuit Court of Appeals which was vacated when Judge Juan Torruella  died last month.

Torruella was the first Puerto Rican judge in that position, and Arias will be the second, if his nomination is approved. The First Circuit has jurisdiction over Puerto Rico as well as the states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maine. Legally, there must be a judge of the First Circuit living in each of those States. However, until Puerto Rico becomes a State, there is no such requirement for Puerto Rico.

Torruella has so far been the only First Circuit judge to live in Puerto Rico.


Raúl Manuel Arias-Marxuach is currently a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. He was appointed to this position last year by President Trump.

Arias-Marxuach completed his BA at Boston College, completed his JD with honors at the University of Puerto Rico, and then earned an LLM from Harvard Law School.

He served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Antonio S. Negrón-García of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico and then joined Fiddler, Gonzalez & Rodriguez. He moved on to the Litigation Practice Group at McConnell Valdés LLC. Before his appointment to the District Court for Puerto Rico, he was Vice Chair at McConnell Valdés.

Arias also served as an adjunct professor at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law on several occasions.

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón initially recommended Arias, saying, “He’s very professional, he leads one of the litigation departments at a local firm, he’s conservative, and his character is impeccable. He is a world-class professional who meets the requirements.”

Arias was a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association and worked with Luis Fortuno when he was a candidate for Governor of Puerto Rico. Otherwise, he has not been involved in politics.

Senate Confirmation

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary must confirm Judge Arias before he can take on the new position.

In the hearing for his previous position, Arias took some clear positions. For example, he agreed that there is systemic racism in the United States and that demographic diversity in the judicial system is “an important goal.”

He declined to give any opinion of voter fraud or Trump’s allegations of voter fraud, saying that it seemed possible to him that he would be called upon to examine cases involving this issue.

Senators Gillibrand (D-NY), Sanders (I-VT), and Warren (D-MA) voted against him at that time.

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