Biden seats most diverse federal judiciary in history with 201 confirmed nominees - TAI News
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President Joe Biden listens as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks during an event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, April 8, 2022, celebrating the confirmation of Jackson as the first Black woman to reach the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On May 22, the Senate confirmed the nominations of Angela Martinez and Dena Coggins to the federal bench, making them President Joe Biden’s 200th and 201st successful appointments to the federal judiciary.

“Judges matter. These men and women have the power to uphold basic rights or to roll them back. They hear cases that decide whether women have the freedom to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions; whether Americans have the freedom to cast their ballots; whether workers have the freedom to unionize and make a living wage for their families; and whether children have the freedom to breathe clean air and drink clean water,” Biden said in a statement marking the milestone.

The confirmation of Martinez, who is Latina, to the bench in the District of Arizona, and of Coggins, who is Black and Asian American, in the Eastern District of California, adds to Biden’s slate of diverse appointments to the judiciary.

“During the Biden administration, with leadership from [Senate Judiciary Committee] Chair [Dick] Durbin and [Senate Majority] Leader [Chuck] Schumer, the Senate has confirmed historic numbers of women, people of color, and other judges who have long been excluded from and underrepresented in our federal courts,” Maya Wiley, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a release.

According to data compiled by the Leadership Conference, 128 of the 201 judges that have been confirmed are women. Thirty-six of Biden’s appointees are Latino, 59 are Black, and 36 have Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander backgrounds.

Biden has successfully nominated more nonwhite people to the federal judiciary than any president in American history, surpassing the 120 nominations by former President Barack Obama and 37 such nominations by former President Donald Trump. Additionally, 64% of Biden’s nominations have been women, more than any other president. Only 24% of Trump’s nominees were women. 

Perhaps most notably, Biden nominated Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, making her the first Black woman to be seated there.

Judicial nominations have been an area of stark contrast between Wisconsin’s two senators.

While Martinez’s and Coggins’ nominations received bipartisan support, Sen. Ron Johnson was one of 28 senators, all Republicans, who voted against her nomination. He was one of the 44 Republicans who voted against Coggins’ nomination. Johnson also voted against the recent nominations of judgesKrissa Lanham and Seth Aframe.

Johnson opposed Justice Jackson’s nomination in 2022 and said in a statement he did so because Democratic presidents “universally nominate individuals who become judicial activists.”

Those same nominations were supported by his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Tammy Baldwin. In a 2022 statement, Baldwin said she backed Jackson because “she has a proven record of being an impartial, fair and independent judge guided by the rule of law.”

In June 2022, the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned Roe v. Wade and rescinded the federal right to an abortion in a 6-to-3 ruling.

Half of the conservative justices who joined the majority – Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, and Brett Kavanaugh – were nominated by Trump; the others were nominated by Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Baldwin opposed all three nominations, while Johnson supported them.

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