To celebrate a round of judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate this week, the White House is pointing out that President Barack Obama has named a more diverse bench than any past president.
In some cases, Obama named the first woman; black woman; Asian; or openly gay judge to serve in his or her particular court, White House counsel Neil Eggleston said.
“These ‘firsts,’ while important, are emblematic of the president’s overall commitment to ensuring that the federal judiciary reflects the nation it serves,” Eggleston wrote in a White House blog post.
“President Obama already has appointed 129 female federal judges — 16 percent more than any other president in history,” Eggleston wrote. “President Obama already has appointed 109 minority federal judges — 18 percent more than any other president in history. President Obama already has appointed 11 openly gay or lesbian federal judges, compared to only one in history prior to 2009.”
Obama and other Democrats frequently use demographic breakdowns to appeal to certain political coalitions. But Eggleston also touted the judicial confirmation successes of Obama overall, while still complaining the Senate has been too slow to confirm most nominees compared to the nominees of previous presidents.
As time ticked away under Democrat control, the Senate confirmed 12 of Obama’s judicial nominees before adjourning this week, for a total of 307 lifetime-appointed federal judges confirmed during Obama’s first six years in office, Eggleston said. That includes two U.S. Supreme Court justices — Elena Kagan and Sonya Sotomayor — 53 circuit court judges and 250 district court judges.
“He also will continue his unprecedented commitment to expanding the gender, racial, sexual orientation, and experiential diversity of the men and women who enforce our laws and deliver justice,” Eggleston added.
Among the judges Obama has appointed are Loretta Biggs, the first black female judge confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina; Elizabeth Dillon, the first female judge confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia; Amit Mehta, the first Asian American Pacific Islander judge confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; and Robert Pitman, the first openly gay lifetime-appointed federal judge in Texas, who was confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.