Politics

Jen Psaki says Joe Biden won’t pledge to put an LGBTQ person on the Supreme Court

Joe Biden, inauguration, first year, LGBTQ achievements
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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the White House isn’t pledging to put an LGBTQ person or an Asian American on the Supreme Court if future vacancies arise.

Biden promised in March 2020 during his presidential campaign to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court, which would be a historic first.

Related: Jen Psaki claps back at Ted Cruz’s reverse-racism complaint by quoting Ted Cruz

A reporter at the White House press briefing yesterday asked about two other groups that have never been represented on the high court, despite having their rights both expanded and curtailed by it: Asian Americans and out LGBTQ people.

“Given the president’s commitment to diversify [the Supreme Court], will he make similar pledges should he have another opportunity to nominate someone?” the reporter asked. “For example, there’s never been an Asian American justice or an LGBTQ justice. So, will he make a similar pledge?”

“He has had an enormous number of justices — judges – he has nominated who are people of color, who are women,” Psaki responded. “He has nominated and confirmed an extraordinarily diverse bench of qualified individuals to serve on the courts and that is certainly a priority for him.”

“I don’t have any new pledges to announce for you but I think I would point you to his record which speaks to his commitment to ensuring the court is more diverse.”

While Psaki was willing to defend Biden’s record on nominating people of color and women to federal benches, she did not extol Biden’s LGBTQ judicial nominees.

Biden has nominated three out LGBTQ federal judges out of the 82 nominations he has made so far. One was Beth Robinson, who was confirmed by the Senate and is now the first out lesbian federal appeals court judge in history.

The second is federal district court Judge Alison Nathan, whose nomination is pending in the Senate for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

During her confirmation hearing, Republicans asked questions like “How many biological sexes do you believe there are?” She is expected to be confirmed.

The third is civil rights attorney Charlotte Sweeney, who was nominated to a federal court in Colorado and would be the first out LGBTQ woman federal judge in the west of the U.S. But she has not yet been confirmed by the Senate and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary is currently deadlocked on her confirmation, which is unusual for a district court judge.

While all Democrats on the committee voted for her confirmation and all Republicans voted against it (the committee is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats), Republicans haven’t explained what their objections to her nomination are.

“Throughout her career, she’s built a reputation for integrity and respect,” Sen. Dick Durban (D-IL) said about Sweeney. No senators asked her any questions during her confirmation hearing.

“Charlotte Sweeney has the temperament, character and integrity to serve the people of Colorado, and all Americans, with honor and distinction,” wrote Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard, to the committee for the hearing.

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