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Robert Leon Wilkins, Cornelia Pillard and Barack Obama (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

(The Root) -- In a statement from the White House Rose garden today, President Obama announced his nomination of three candidates for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  

One of them: Judge Robert Leon Wilkins, an African-American Harvard Law School graduate and former law-firm partner currently serving as a U.S. district judge for the District of Columbia. He has held the position since he was confirmed by the Senate without opposition in 2010. 

At the ceremony, whose audience included U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Senior Adviser to the President Valerie Jarrett, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and NAACP Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy Hilary Shelton, Obama said:

This is the second time I’ve called on Judge Robert Wilkins to serve -- because in 2010, I nominated Robert to the D.C. District Court, and the Senate confirmed him without opposition.  Before serving with distinction as a federal judge, Robert spent eight years in private practice and a decade as a public defender here in Washington, D.C., providing legal representation to defendants who could not afford an attorney.  And throughout his career, Robert has distinguished himself as a principled attorney of the utmost integrity.

Wilkins was nominated along with Patricia Ann Millett, an appellate lawyer in Washington, D.C., and Cornelia Pillard, a Georgetown University law professor.

"These are no slouches," Obama insisted. "These are no hacks. There are incredibly accomplished lawyers by all accounts. And there are members of Congress here today who are ready to move forward with these nominations ... So there's no reason -- aside from politics -- for Republicans to block these individuals from getting an up or down vote."

"It's important that we don't play games here," he said.