This excerpt is from a piece by Rakim Brooks that originally ran in Ms. Magazine on October 23, 2023.
It’s a bittersweet time to reflect on President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Schumer’s legacy for our federal courts.
On one hand, this administration and Senate majority are unrivaled in adding diversity to the federal bench. That includes demographic diversity like women (98), people of color (101), and LGBTQ+ people (9) and professional diversity like former public defenders (34) and civil rights attorneys (23).
On the other hand, Biden and Schumer are now falling behind Trump and McConnell’s pace of confirmations. Senate Republicans have weaponized procedures such as withholding blue slips and refusing to consult on vacancies, slowing nominations down considerably. Just as importantly, the diversity of the nominees has similarly declined.
This is happening at a time when it is increasingly apparent why circuit and district court judges are just so important. A single judge like Texas’ Matthew Kacsmaryk threatened access to mifepristone for the entire nation. This month, we saw a panel of three Trump judges uphold Idaho’s near-total ban on abortion. And the Fifth Circuit, which is easily the most conservative court in the country (thanks in part to six Trump judges), declared the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unconstitutional—all because an association of pay-day lenders told them to.
This madness must stop and there’s only one obvious solution: more Biden judges.