The US Senate on Tuesday confirmed the 100th federal judge appointed by Joe Biden, who, using diversity as his credo, seeks to dilute the conservative imprint left on the courts by his predecessor Donald Trump.
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Gina Mendez-Miro, a 49-year-old attorney, won the support of 54 out of 100 senators and becomes a judge in the Puerto Rico federal court.
A labor law specialist, Hispanic and lesbian, she embodies these new profiles of the Democratic president, who said in a press release he was “proud” to have promoted candidates from the United States who “represent diversity.”
“76% of the confirmed judges under my leadership are women and 68% are black,” he noted, noting that he’s also chosen atypical careers with experience defending the poor, for example.
He also brought a black woman, Ketanji Brown Jackson, before the Supreme Court for the first time in history.
Under the US Constitution, the President appoints Supreme Court and federal judges for life. It is then up to the upper house of Congress to confirm that election by a vote.
With Democrats in control of the Senate for two years, Joe Biden was able to validate his nominees at an accelerated pace. During this phase of his mandate, Donald Trump was “only” able to confirm 85 judges.
After retaining the Senate in November’s election, Joe Biden can continue at this pace through 2024. After Ms. Mendez-Miro, the senators have also confirmed two more of his candidates.
His interest in diversity marks a major shift: In four years, Donald Trump has brought more than 230 judges to federal courts, three quarters of them men and 85 percent white.
His criteria were elsewhere: To please his conservative voters, the Republican had promised to elect judges who are anti-abortion, defenders of gun control and defenders of religious liberty.
In doing so, he left a lasting mark on the judicial system, which is particularly noticeable in the Supreme Court, which has undergone a sharp shift to the right since its reorganization.
In June, the Supreme Court, from which it renewed a third of the elders, blasted abortion rights, expanded the right to carry a firearm and curtailed the federal government’s resources to fight global warming.
To reverse the trend, Joe Biden is acting fast. About fifty judges selected by him are awaiting confirmation.
To give him room to maneuver, several judges have retired or taken early retirement with democratic sensitivity. Almost 90 out of a total of around 870 places are currently to be filled.
However, when rivaling Donald Trump on pace, Joe Biden does not have the same impact because the Republican was able to replace judges appointed by Democratic presidents, changing the political coloring of the courts.
During his tenure, three of the thirteen influential federal appeals courts transitioned from having a majority of judges appointed by Democratic presidents to having a majority of justices elected by Republican presidents.
Joe Biden is about to “take back” just one.
Donald Trump was able to achieve this effect because the Republicans, who took over the upper house in 2014, blocked most of the justices elected by Barack Obama in the last two years of his term.
Hundreds of positions had to be filled when Donald Trump moved into the White House.
These political shenanigans have undermined the image of impartiality in American courts and have increased “justice shopping,” which consists of strategically filing a complaint with a particular court.
Recent example: Anti-abortion activists have filed a lawsuit against the abortion pill in Amarillo, Texas, where the only federal judge appointed by Donald Trump is known for his ultra-conservative views. your hope? that it bans mifepristone (or RU 486) in the United States.