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Biden Announces 2 Historic LGBTQ Judicial Nominees; One Could Become First Out Lesbian To Serve On Any Federal Circuit Court

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Aug 12, 2021

President Biden announced on Thursday two historic nominations for the federal bench, in his sixth round of names for federal judicial positions.

If confirmed by the Senate, Beth Robinson would be the first out lesbian to serve on any federal circuit court; while Charlotte Sweeney would be the first openly LGBTQ federal judge in Colorado, and also the first out lesbian to serve as a federal district court judge in any state west of the Mississippi.

These choices “continue to fulfill the President’s promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country — both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds,” the White House said Thursday in a press release.

Robinson, who was nominated for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, has served as an Associate Justice on the Vermont Supreme Court since 2011. She’s also the state’s first openly LGBTQ Supreme Court justice.

Prior to her appointment, she served as counsel to Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin from 2010 to 2011. As head of Vermont Freedom to Marry, she was a key backer of a 2009 law that made Vermont the first state to offer full marriage to same-sex couples without a court order telling lawmakers to do so.

Robinson is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Chicago Law School.

Charlotte Sweeney, Biden’s other historical judicial pick, is a Denver-based lawyer and a founding partner of Sweeney & Bechtold, LLC, a law firm that specializes in handling employment law matters.

She was nominated to the District Court for the District of Colorado.

The Colorado-native focuses on employment law and has devoted her legal practice to assisting and representing individuals who have faced unfair practices in the workplace.

Sweeney is a graduate of California Lutheran University and University of Denver College of Law. She has been an active supporter of the Matthew Shepard Foundation since 2010 and joined the organization’s board of directors in 2016.

LGBTQ rights advocates applauded the historic nominations.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Muri Assuncao, NY Daily News

Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

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