The Black Women Of The Biden-Harris Administration: Samiyyah Ali

During his presidential campaign, then-candidate Joe Biden vowed his cabinet would be “the most diverse in history.”

It seems as President he is living up to that promise. There are more women and people of color in President Biden’s proposed cabinet than in the last four administrations.

“Building a diverse team will lead to better outcomes and more effective solutions to address the urgent crises facing our nation,” he said in a speech in December when announcing some of his cabinet nominees.

His cabinet has record-breaking nominations and fulfills Mr. Biden’s campaign promise to select a team that “looks like America” The diversity isn’t exclusive to the cabinet nominees. It extends throughout positions in the Biden-Harris Administration.

This month we’ll introduce you to some of the Black women that hold these positions.

Samiyyah Ali

Deputy Associate Counsel

Ali served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018-19 before entering private practice with the litigation firm Wilkinson Stekloff in Washington, D.C.

Samiyyah also maintains an active pro bono practice and has experience representing clients in trial, appellate, and post-conviction proceedings.  In 2020, Samiyyah secured early release of one of her pro bono clients, who was sentenced to life in prison for a crime he committed as a teenager and who has spent over 25 years in prison reshaping his life.

Before her Supreme Court clerkship, Ali was a law clerk for Judge Sri Srinivasan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Judge Amul Thapar during his tenure on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Before law school, Ali worked as a student affairs administrator at The Ohio State University.

A native of Atlanta, she earned her bachelor’s degree at Duke University, where she was a Coca-Cola Scholar, and a master’s degree in higher education at Ohio State before earning her law degree at Vanderbilt in 2016.

She was executive editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review in 2015-16. While in law school, Samiyyah received the Bennett Douglas Bell Memorial Prize for excellence in academics and character, as well as the Myron Penn Laughlin Note Award for her writing on the intersection of patent and administrative law.



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