While President Joe Biden’s economic agenda and voting rights bill are being obstructed by Republicans (along with any other legislation Democrats introduce), the Senate is still somehow working together to quietly help the President make history with his judicial nominees.
The Democratic-controlled body voted 52-41 on Monday to confirm Gustavo Gelpi to be a judge on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Boston, making him the fifth new circuit judge with a background as a public defender during President Biden’s first year in office. Compared to his predecessors, it’s a history-making move.
Gelpi is President Biden’s eighth new judge with experience as a public defender. That is as many as Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton landed in their first years combined, according to Chris Kang, the chief counsel of Demand Justice as quoted by NBC News.
As an example, President Obama confirmed five former public defenders to the appeals courts over his entire eight years, according to the progressive judicial group Demand Justice. President Biden has matched that in just his first nine months.
18 judges now confirmed to lifetime federal judicial appointments.
Biden/Schumer are off to the fastest judicial start since the Kennedy administration. https://t.co/NQqlLR1p44
— What Biden Has Done (@What46HasDone) October 19, 2021
With the latest confirmation, President Biden is outpacing every other president since Richard Nixon in confirming circuit judges, who have the last word in most federal cases — although legal experts hint that the pace will be difficult to maintain. Progressives have often complained about the tendency of presidents in both parties to prioritize corporate lawyers and prosecutors for federal judgeships, arguing that the lack of diversity in experience on the courts has created blind spots in the justice system.
President Biden is off to a stellar start when it comes to his judicial appointments. https://t.co/BIEKgAXuGh
— Rachel Barkow (@RachelBarkow) October 18, 2021
But President Biden’s White House counsel, Dana Remus, has sought to correct that early by making it clear that the President intends to change course and nominate more public defenders and civil rights lawyers.
Read the full report at NBC News.