President Barack Obama on Saturday appointed lesbian law professor Chai Feldblum to a position on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Feldblum was key in the drafting and negotiations over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). She and three others were appointed using a constitutional provision known as a recess appointment.
While a Senate committee voted in favor of Feldblum’s nomination back in December, Republicans have blocked a full-Senate vote from taking place.
Feldblum is best known for her work on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which passed in 1990, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public accommodations and other areas against people with disabilities. The law also covered people with HIV infection.
Obama said in a statement that he would be bypassing the Senate:
“If, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis,” Obama said in a statement.
“Most of the men and women whose appointments I am announcing today were approved by Senate committees months ago, yet still await a vote of the Senate,” the President said.
Feldblum, a Georgetown law professor, has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Campaign.