Despite Republican efforts to derail President Joe Biden, he will surpass the last occupant in judicial nominees according to CNN. President Biden’s latest wave of nominees continues his goal of diversifying the federal bench. As both CNN and Huffington Post reported, the president is nominating Jessica G.L. Clarke, chief of Civil Rights for the New York Attorney General, and Sherilyn Peace Garnett, a California Superior Court judge and former prosecutor, to the Southern District of New York and the Central District of California, respectively. The White House confirmed the president’s diversity goal in a statement: “These choices continue to fulfill the President’s promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country—both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds.” What a breath of fresh air. Not only do these candidates look like many of us, but they are also competent, unlike the last occupant’s choices.
Most of Trump’s nominees are either unqualified or too biased to sit on the bench. Huffington Post compiled a list of the worst back in 2019. The subtitle of the piece, “If you care about women’s rights, LGBTQ rights or voting rights or about judges being fit to serve, you oughta read this,” tells you everything you need to know, but what it does not tell you is that they were purposely chosen because of who they are and what they believe. For example, several are members of the Federalist Society, and they all share one thing in common: They are anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion, and anti-voting rights. Two Trump judges received ratings of “not qualified” from the American Bar Association, and both sit on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals: Steven Grasz and Jonathan Kobes. The most infamous appointee is Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who called Roe v. Wade “an erroneous decision” and the ACA birth control benefit “an assault on religious liberty.” Yet, this woman sits on the highest court and will remain there for many years to come given her age. These choices are despicable, but the intent is clear. Republicans want to control how we live, and Trump and McConnell spent their time stacking the courts with unqualified, religious zealot judges. Thank God Joe Biden won the election and can try to level the playing field.
He has enjoyed success in confirming nine circuit court judges, and his choices of Jennifer Sung for the 9th Circuit and Samantha D. Elliott for the District of New Hampshire are imminently expected to clear the Senate. With the help of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, judicial appointments have taken a priority with the Biden administration. To date, Biden has included 53 women, 20 Blacks, 15 Hispanics, and 13 Asian American Pacific Islanders. The backgrounds of these nominees include 21 public defenders, 16 civil rights lawyers, and five labor lawyers. Expect these nominations to continue at this pace. Democrats may not control the House or Senate after 2022, and due to that uncertainty, President Biden is on a mission to balance the playing field as quickly as possible.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years