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Senate Confirms First Openly LGBTQ Woman to Lifetime Seat on US Appeals Court

Senate Confirms First Openly LGBTQ Woman to Lifetime Seat on US Appeals Court

President Joe Biden once again has made good on his promise to make appointments during his administration that reflected the population of the country they serve. On Monday night, the Senate confirmed his nominee, Judge Beth Robinson, to a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. Robinson, 56, has been an associate judge on the Vermont Supreme Court since 2011. Now she’s the first openly LGBTQ woman to serve on any U.S. appeals court.

The President has also stuck to his vow to make his judicial nominees more diverse than those of his predecessors, both professionally and demographically. While most of Trump’s court picks were white male corporate lawyers, President Biden’s nominees so far have included public defenders, civil rights lawyers, voting rights lawyers, and historic firsts with Native American and Muslim American picks.

 

The Senate confirmed Robinson 51 to 45. Every Democrat present voted for her, but just two Republicans, Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine voted with them.

Robinson was a civil litigator in private practice from 1993 to 2010, during which time she focused on civil litigation including employment law, workers’ compensation, contract disputes, and family law. She also represented LGBTQ clients in civil and civil rights cases, including leading the freedom-to-marry movement in Vermont.

 

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Judge Robinson’s confirmation also shifts the balance of that court to a majority Democrat-appointed panel of judges, a detail that progressive judicial advocates hailed as a sign that the President is already making real progress in reshaping the nation’s federal courts. The Senate has now confirmed a total of three of President Biden’s nominees to this court.

With Judge Robinson’s confirmation, along with another Monday vote to confirm Toby Heytens to a U.S. appeals court, President Biden has now gotten a total of 28 appeals court and district court nominees confirmed since taking office. That’s more than any U.S. president in modern history has had confirmed by this point in their term.

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