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Biden Administration Confirms 100th Judge, Including First LGBTQ+ Judge for Puerto Rico
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On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Gina Méndez-Miró as the first openly LGBTQ+ American judge to serve on the federal district court in Puerto Rico. This appointment marks the 100th federal court appointment under the Biden administration. The Senate voted 54 to 45 to approve Méndez-Miró, who previously served as a Puerto Rico appeals court judge.

The Biden administration and Senate Democrats have pledged to prioritize reshaping the federal judiciary, focusing on demographically diverse candidates and nominees with varied legal experiences. Of the 100 judges appointed by President Biden, 76 have been women, and 68 have been people of color, according to Senate Democrats.

On Monday, the Senate also confirmed Cindy Chung as the first Asian American judge on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Chung, a U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh, was appointed by President Biden.

  
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York highlighted the importance of diversity in the judiciary, saying, “The more our judges reflect our nation’s vibrancy and diversity, the more effective they will be in administering equal justice. The more Americans look at our courts and see people who look like them and come from their backgrounds and share similar experiences, the better off our judicial system will be.”

Since 2016, Méndez-Miró has served on the Puerto Rico Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters. Before her appointment to the court, she was the chief of staff for the Puerto Rico Senate. Méndez-Miró, born in 1974, earned her law degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law in 2001.

The appointment of Méndez-Miró to the federal district court in Puerto Rico is significant because it reflects the Biden administration’s commitment to increasing diversity in the judiciary. The Senate judiciary committee recently advanced 24 pending Biden court nominees to a total vote.

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President Biden has moved faster than his predecessor, Republican Donald Trump, to appoint judges. However, judicial experts do not expect Biden to match Trump’s 231 picks over four years in office. According to a report by judiciary scholar Russell Wheeler at the Brookings Institution, Biden had 13 more confirmations at the start of his third year in the White House than Trump. Trump had 71 pending nominees at the same point, compared with Biden’s 53. In total, Trump appointed 54 appeals court judges and 177 district judges.

In conclusion, the appointment of Gina Méndez-Miró as the first openly LGBTQ+ American judge to serve on the federal district court in Puerto Rico is a significant milestone for the Biden administration. The appointment reflects the administration’s commitment to increasing diversity in the judiciary and prioritizing candidates with varied legal experiences. With more than 50 pending nominees, the administration’s efforts to reshape the federal judiciary are set to continue in the new year.



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Biden’s 100th confirmed judge is LGBTQ+ first for Puerto Rico



 

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