President Biden has had 40 judges confirmed in the Senate this year, the most for a new president since the Reagan era — and he's prioritizing diversity among nominees for these life-tenured posts. His progessive strides could get tougher in the coming year, NPR reports. Biden's nominees include the first openly LGBTQ woman to sit on a federal appeals court, Beth Robinson of Vermont, and the first Muslim American to be a judge, Zahid Quraishi of New Jersey. Biden has named more Black women to appeals courts than any president, many of them former public defenders. Nearly 75 five percent of Biden's picks have been women, and nearly 65 percent have been people of color.
"The majority of people who come to the doorsteps of criminal courts every day are from communities of color and also communities who don't have access to resources," said April Frazier Camara of the National Legal Aid and Defender Center, which supports legal aid lawyers and public defenders. Frazier Camara says she's pleased with the White House so far but says there's still a long way to go to make the federal bench look more like the rest of the nation. Most of Biden's judge nominees so far have come from states with two Democratic senators, who won't block his choices for the courts. The president will most likely try to leverage his long relationships in the Senate to get approval in states with Republican senators. A major unknown for the year ahead is whether Biden could have an opening to fill on the Supreme Court.