LGBTQ - With two recent judicial nominations by President Joe Biden, his administration could be on track to appointing a record number of LGBTQ+ federal judges.
On Wednesday, Biden nominated Judge Melissa Dubose for the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island. If confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first LGBTQ+ judge and the first person of color to serve on that court.
Also awaiting confirmation is Nicole Berner, whom Biden has nominated for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Berner will also blaze a trail if confirmed, becoming the first out LGBTQ+ judge in the Fourth Circuit.
The confirmation of both Berner and Dubose would bring Biden’s total number of appointed out LGBTQ+ judges to 11 in his first term alone, according to the Los Angeles Blade. President Barack Obama appointed the same number over two terms.
Berner is currently the General Counsel to the Service Employees Union and, among other roles, has worked as an attorney for both Planned Parenthood and the law firm Jenner & Block. Dubose has served as an associate judge on the Rhode Island District Court since 2019 and was a prosecutor at the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office from 2005 to 2008. She also spent almost ten years teaching high school U.S. history and social studies.
Biden has made several historic LGBTQ+ appointments to the bench. In 2021, Beth Robinson became the first out LGBTQ+ woman in the country to serve on a U.S. appeals court, and in 2022, Judge Alison Nathan became the second.
Biden has become known overall for appointing a diverse array of judges across the country. In addition to racial and ethnic diversity, many of Biden’s appointees also come from progressive backgrounds as civil rights lawyers and public defenders. He also nominated Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson – the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
(Molly Sprayregen is the Associate Editor of LGBTQ Nation where this article was first published.)