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POTUS reaches a milestone on the bench.
POTUS reaches a milestone on the bench. Photo: Getty Images.

Biden hits a historic diversity landmark with his first 100 confirmed judges

Senate Democrats confirmed the POTUS’ 100th judge Tuesday, the most at this point in a president’s term than under any previous administration.

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President Joe Biden continues to fulfill his campaign promise of diversifying the federal bench and judiciary courts at a rapid pace. 

Senate Democrats made history when they confirmed Biden’s 100th judge on Valentines Day, Feb. 14. Judge Gina Méndez-Miró now joins the U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico as the third Biden appointee for the District Court of Puerto Rico confirmed by Senate Democrats. 

She also makes history as the first LGBTQ+ judge on the court.

“Senate Democrats have focused intensely on expanding the diversity of our courts, and not just in terms of demographics but in terms of experience, professional experience too,” said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Other recent confirmations were for Judge DeAndrea Benjamin for United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit. 

She is the 12th Black woman confirmed to a Circuit Court, as nine previous judges had ever been confirmed before Biden took office, and no other president has ever confirmed more than three. 

Benjamin is the second woman of color to ever sit on this court.

"As a former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, strengthening the federal judiciary with extraordinarily qualified judges who are devoted to our Constitution and the rule of law has been among my proudest work in office," Biden said in a statement celebrating the achievement. 

"I'm especially proud that the nominees I have put forward — and the Senate has confirmed — represent the diversity that is one of our best assets as a nation, and that our shared work has broken so many barriers in just two years,” he added. 

Judge Cindy Chung was also confirmed to the United States Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit on Monday, Feb. 13. She is the 13th Asian woman confirmed to a lifetime post under the Senate Democratic majority — more than any other president in history. 

Chung is also the first Asian American ever confirmed to the court and will change the makeup of the Circuit from a split seven Democrats seven Republicans to a democratic majority.

This all-women group of confirmations is also bringing about needed gender diversity for the District. 

Senate Democrats have prioritized confirming Biden’s judicial nominations and with Tuesday’s appointment, hit a milestone with not only the number of judges confirmed but also in their demographic and professional diversity. 

It has changed the overall makeup of the judiciary after four years of confirmation of far-right conservatives under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former President Donald Trump. 

Senate Democrats will continue and hope to confirm more of Biden’s judicial nominees in the 118th Congress.

“We are working hard not only to add more women, more people of color, more lawyers from unique backgrounds to the bench, but people of different walks of life,” Schumer said. 

According to the U.S. Courts, there are 87 vacancies on the U.S. courts of appeals and district courts, and 46 nominees pending. 

This Senate has confirmed more judges by this point in Biden’s term compared to other previous administrations. 

Under the Obama Administration, the number of Circuit Judges confirmed at this point in his term was 17, 48 District Judges, 65 total judges, and 67 total judges plus the Supreme Court. Under the Trump Administration, the number of Circuit Judges confirmed at this point in his term was 30, 53 District Judges, 83 total judges, and 85 total judges plus the Supreme Court. 

Of the 100 judicial nominees made by POTUS, 76 out of 100 confirmed by the Senate were women, and 68 confirmed were people of color. 

Thirty-three are Black, with 25 Black women and 21 Hispanics. 

More Black women have been confirmed to Circuit Court judgeships under Biden and Senate Democrats than under all previous presidents combined. 

They have confirmed more women to judgeships than any GOP president, more people of color to Circuit Court judgeships than any other president, and more Asian and Native women to the federal bench than any other president. 

Some major milestones among the group include the confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, and the confirmation of Beth Robinson, the first out LGBTQ+ woman to serve on the Federal Circuit Court

The son of Pakistani immigrants, Zahid Quraishi was confirmed as the first Muslim American federal judge in U.S. history, and Tiffany P. Cunningham was confirmed as the first Black Federal Circuit Judge, as well as the confirmation of Lucy Koh, the first Korean-American woman on the Appeals Court Judge. 

Dana Douglas also became the first Black woman to conservative-leaning 5th Circuit with Cindy Chung becoming the first Asian American confirmed to the Third Circuit Appeals Court

This Senate has confirmed a record high number of public defenders to appeals courts and made an effort to confirm more civil rights, legal aid, and election and voting rights lawyers to diversify experience. 

This includes Myrna Perez, the former director of the Brennan Center's Voting Rights and Elections Program, Holly Thomas and Chung from the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, and the Innocence Project’s former senior litigation counsel, Nina Morrison. 

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