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Biden hits presidential milestone as Senate confirms 100th judicial pick

Biden lays groundwork for potential 2024 bid
Biden lays groundwork for potential 2024 bid 06:51

Washington — President Biden hit a milestone Tuesday in efforts to put his stamp on the federal judiciary, with the Senate confirming his 100th judicial nominee.

Mr. Biden hit the mark with the upper chamber's bipartisan approval of Judge Gina Méndez-Miró to the federal district court in Puerto Rico. Mendez-Miro will make history as the first openly LGBTQ judge to serve on that 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," Mr. 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."

When he assumed the presidency two years ago, Mr. Biden pledged to appoint federal judges who are diverse not only in their backgrounds but also their professional experience, addressing a disparity in the legal professionals represented on the federal bench. On the U.S. courts of appeals, the president has tapped more judges with experience as public defenders than all of his predecessors combined. Additionally, 67% of the judges he has selected to the federal bench have been women, and 68% are people of color, according to the White House.

The president also helped shape history with his nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, the first Black woman to serve on the high court. Jackson was first appointed by Mr. Biden to the federal appeals court in Washington and then to the Supreme Court. Two more of Mr. Biden's nominees, Florence Pan and Sarah Merriam, were confirmed first to federal district courts and then the appellate courts when vacancies arose.

Mr. Biden called his 100th judicial confirmation a "profound moment," and thanked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin and senators from both parties "for working in good faith to reach this milestone for our country."

Schumer lauded the work of the Senate in expanding the "diversity and dynamism of the judiciary" and confirming judges who "embody the very best of our judicial system: experience, fair-mindedness and fidelity to the Constitution."

"And we will keep going," he tweeted.

There are currently 87 vacancies on the U.S. courts of appeals and district courts, and 46 nominees pending, according to the U.S. Courts.

Durbin said the speed with which the upper chamber has moved Mr. Biden's picks to the federal bench "exceeds the pace of confirmations in the Trump and Obama administrations."

"Equally as important as the numbers, we are seeing diverse nominees confirmed — in both their professional and demographic backgrounds," he said in a statement. "Our effort to bring balance to the courts has been one of this Senate's truly great successes."

Democrats' focus on the courts with Mr. Biden in the White House came after former President Donald Trump reshaped the federal bench, with more than 230 judges confirmed during his four years in office. Trump also helped cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court with his appointment of three justices, clearing the way for the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June.

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