Published on: Friday, November 10, 2023

President Joe Biden hit a milestone on Tuesday that he’ll certainly be touting on the campaign trail: He’s put 150 people into lifetime federal judgeships – and of those, 100 are women and 98 are people of color (article available here).

It’s a solid number of Article III judges to be confirmed by this point in a presidency — these judges get lifetime appointments and serve on district courts, appeals courts and the Supreme Court.

What’s more interesting is how historically diverse they are, not only in terms of demographic factors like race and gender but also in terms of professional backgrounds.

 Biden is perhaps most proud to have put Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson onto the Supreme Court, making her the first Black woman to ever serve there.

Other firsts include Judge Myrna Pérez, a former voting rights lawyer and the only Latina woman on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Judge Nancy Abudu, the first Black woman to serve on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Judge Beth Robinson, the first openly LGBTQI+ woman to sit on a federal appeals court; and Judges Zahid Quraishi and Nusrat Choudhury, the first two Muslim Americans ever to serve as Article III judges.

As for professional diversity, the president has put 35 former public defenders and 23 former civil rights attorneys into federal judgeships ― a major shift away from the more traditional corporate lawyers sought for these jobs.

In all, the president has had more Black women confirmed to U.S. appeals courts than all previous presidential administrations combined. He’s gotten more Asian American/Pacific Islander judges confirmed than any previous administration and put more Latina women onto the federal bench than the last three presidents. Biden has seen more Indigenous judges confirmed than in any other administration, too.