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STATEMENT: President Biden’s LGBTQ Judicial Nominees Mark Historic Step Toward Strengthening the Diversity of Courts

Washington, D.C. — Today, President Joe Biden announced a historic slate of judicial nominees, including Justice Beth Robinson, who was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, and Charlotte Sweeney, who was nominated for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. If confirmed, Justice Robinson would be the first openly LGBTQ woman to serve on any federal circuit court, and Sweeney would be the first openly LGBTQ federal judge in Colorado.

The nominations represent a long-overdue step to strengthening the diversity of the federal judiciary. According to 2019 findings from the Center for American Progress, LGBTQ people comprised fewer than 1 percent of sitting judges, despite comprising 5.6 percent of the total U.S. population.

In response to President Biden’s announcement, Sharita Gruberg, vice president for CAP’s LGBTQ Research and Communications Project, issued the following statement:

President Biden’s nomination of Vermont State Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson, who would be the first openly LGBTQ woman to serve on any federal appellate court, is a historic and an important step. An accomplished jurist and attorney, Justice Robinson is eminently qualified to serve on the 2nd Circuit.

The judiciary is strengthened when it reflects the diversity of America—including LGBTQ Americans. This diversity is even more critical given far-right activists’ continued attempts to use the legal system to dismantle the basic civil rights of LGBTQ people, particularly transgender people. The nomination of Justice Robinson—as well as Charlotte Sweeney, who would be the first openly LGBTQ federal judge in Colorado—is a critical step forward for the federal bench.

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