The Senate has thrown its support behind a 100th pick from President Joe Biden for a spot on the federal judiciary, marking both a significant milestone and a continuation of the president and Democrats beating the rate at which Trump was seeing his picks for the courts confirmed by the Senate. Trump was at 85 judges by the point in his presidency equivalent to when NBC was assembling its Tuesday report.
Biden’s picks for roles as federal judges have leaned more towards an increasingly diverse personal and professional background, which has meant spots on the bench for legal professionals like former public defenders. The 100th pick from Biden to earn support in the full Senate was Gina Méndez-Miró, who will be becoming a district court judge in Puerto Rico. She got 54 votes in the Senate in an expression of the chamber’s support earlier this week. The Senate was also working on confirmation votes on Monday, when the chamber approved Cindy Chung for a spot on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Chung will be the first Asian American judge on that court, which could help with ensuring that the judges handling cases of any sensitivity better understand the background of the people whose fates they may be deciding. Some have noted how the new Republican majority in the House could leave Senate Democrats, who hold control of their chamber, only increasingly focused on confirming judges, since House input isn’t needed.
“We have made important progress in ensuring that the federal judiciary not only looks more like the nation as a whole, but also includes judges from professional backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented on the bench,” a statement from Biden said. “To that end, I have appointed more federal circuit judges with experience as public defenders than all prior presidents combined. Seventy-six percent of the Article III judges confirmed during my Administration have been women, and 68% have been people of color. I was proud to nominate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, and I am also proud to have confirmed 12 Black women to serve on federal circuit courts—more than all other Presidents combined.”
Biden will need to keep the pace going to keep up with or beat Trump’s rate of judicial confirmations, which increased as his term dragged on, reaching a total of 234 judges confirmed when he left office, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was optimistic.
Even some of Trump’s own picks for the courts haven’t always worked out in his favor or that of his allies. Despite multiple selections for the U.S. Supreme Court, that body repeatedly turned back attempts at challenging and undercutting the results of the 2020 presidential election. Elsewhere, Trump pick Trevor McFadden helped set the judicial stage for the House Ways and Means Committee to receive years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns. Republicans remain mad about Biden’s picks for the judiciary. “Obama’s nominees look positively moderate and reasonable compared to the zealots the Biden administration has put forward,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) claimed. Would anyone really expect Cruz to have a different stance, though? That’s his shtick.