Senate Confirms Biden Judge Who Fought For Marriage Equality

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The Senate voted Tuesday to verify Rita Lin, who beforehand fought for marriage equality in federal court docket, to a lifetime federal judgeship.

Lin, 45, is now the primary Chinese language American girl to serve on the U.S. District Courtroom for the Northern District of California.

Lin was confirmed in a 52-45 vote. Each Democrat current voted for her, together with three Republicans: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska). Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) didn’t vote.

For the previous 5 years, Lin has been an affiliate choose on the San Francisco County Superior Courtroom, and she or he beforehand served as an assistant U.S. legal professional. She was additionally in non-public apply for 10 years, throughout which era she grew to become a nationwide identify within the battle for LGBTQ+ rights and marriage equality.

In 2012, Lin was co-counsel in a lawsuit that resulted within the federal Protection of Marriage Act ― which outlined marriage as an association between one man and one girl ― being declared unconstitutional in a U.S. district court docket.

She confronted some scrutiny from Republicans in her Senate affirmation listening to final November. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) pressed her on a 1998 article she wrote in school, wherein she stated that members of the Christian Coalition are “bigots.”

“Did you write that?” Kennedy requested Lin.

“I did write that after I was 18 years previous ― or 20 years previous,” Lin stated. “I do need to be clear, I don’t agree with that at the moment. I wrote that earlier than I went to regulation faculty, earlier than I had any type of ―”

“You have been a grown girl while you wrote this,” Kennedy interrupted.

“It was earlier than I had knowledgeable profession,” Lin stated. “I used to be a junior at Harvard.”

“Wow,” Kennedy stated, twice, earlier than transferring on.

The Christian Coalition was a conservative non secular advocacy group launched by Pat Robertson, a distinguished determine in conservative Christian political and leisure circles who for years promoted sexist, homophobic and Islamophobic concepts. The group was denied tax-exempt standing in 1999 as a result of it engaged in political actions.

Rita Lin, an associate judge on the San Francisco County Superior Court, testifies during her confirmation hearing for a lifetime federal judgeship before the Senate judiciary committee in November 2022.
Rita Lin, an affiliate choose on the San Francisco County Superior Courtroom, testifies throughout her affirmation listening to for a lifetime federal judgeship earlier than the Senate judiciary committee in November 2022.

The Management Convention on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of greater than 230 nationwide civil and human rights organizations, strongly supported Lin’s nomination. The group praised her “spectacular skilled expertise” and highlighted the “vital lived expertise” she would convey to the court docket as a member of the Asian American and Pacific Islander neighborhood.

“If confirmed, Decide Lin can be the one energetic AAPI girl serving on the bench within the Northern District of California and solely the second within the court docket’s historical past,” the coalition stated in an announcement. “California is dwelling to almost 6.5 million AAPI folks, but this court docket didn’t have an AAPI choose till 2010 … The affirmation of Decide Lin can be an vital step in direction of making certain that our federal courts replicate and characterize the range of our nation.”

President Joe Biden has introduced vital range to the federal bench, and the White Home has been transferring at a comparatively quick clip to appoint folks to vacant court docket seats. However with the 2024 election season looming and the potential for the Senate and/or the White Home to flip to GOP management, some progressives are agitating for Senate Democratic leaders to make it a a lot increased precedence to verify Biden’s court docket picks.

Svante Myrick, president of the progressive advocacy group Folks For the American Approach, final week referred to as out “a visitors jam that’s now as much as 23 circuit and district court docket nominees who’re awaiting flooring votes.”

“The present administration is falling behind the Trump-McConnell benchmark for numbers of federal judges confirmed at this level in a presidency, with 141 to Trump’s 150,” Myrick stated in an announcement, referring to former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confirming enormous numbers of far-right judges once they managed the White Home and the Senate.

“The Senate has to choose up the tempo and prioritize these confirmations if we ever hope to rebalance a court docket system pushed to the fitting by McConnell and Trump,” Myrick continued. “Biden judges are making huge contributions to the federal bench, they exemplify the deep dedication to civil rights we wish in judges ― and we simply want extra of them.”

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