Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called out President Biden and Democrats for appearing to prioritize “identity politics” and “demographic box-checking” with judicial nominees.
Mr. McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said the president’s emphasis on race and gender was evident as the Senate confirmed Mr. Biden’s 100th judicial nominee this week.
“Both the president and the Democratic leader focused their comments overwhelmingly on identity politics and demographic box-checking,” he said. “The president’s statements spent literally one part of one sentence paying lip service to the question of legal qualifications. The remaining five paragraphs were devoted solely to these new judges’ demographic characteristics.”
Mr. McConnell said that the White House seemed to view the federal “judiciary as some kind of crude, sociological math problem.”
“President Biden informed the American people that a particular district court in Puerto Rico will now have its first judge who is not heterosexual. He pointed out that men have been a small minority of his judicial nominees,” said the Kentucky Republican. “That certain percentages of his nominees fit into certain demographic categories.”
Mr. McConnell added that both Mr. Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, appeared to prioritize identity politics rather than qualifications when touting judicial nominees.
“When these Democrats talk about our sacred legal system, they sound like the H.R. Department at some liberal university,” he said.
The comments came one day after four Senate Republicans voted with nearly every single Democrat to confirm Gina Méndez-Miró to serve as a United States district court judge for the District of Puerto Rico.
The confirmation makes Mrs. Méndez-Miró the first openly gay woman to serve as a federal court judge in Puerto Rico. It was historic for another reason as well, however.
Mrs. Méndez-Miró is the 100th judicial nominee proposed by Mr. Biden to be confirmed by the Senate.
“That’s 100 judges who will bring balance and excellence to the federal bench,” said Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat. “Today, because of the work done by this majority, our federal judiciary is far more balanced, far more diverse, far more experienced than the one we had two years ago, and it’s something every American can be proud of.”
The timing of the milestone came faster for Mr. Biden than it did for his predecessors in the White House, including Mr. Trump.
It took the Democratic-controlled Senate two years and 26 days to hit the marker. It took Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell two years, three months and 13 days to reach the same milestone under Mr. Trump with the confirmation of Judge Rudolfo Ruiz II to the U.S. District Court in Southern Florida in May 2019.
Overall Mr. Trump saw 234 of his judicial nominees confirmed to the bench during his four years in office. That included 53 appellate court judges and three nominees to the Supreme Court, which flipped the balance of power to conservatives.
Mr. Biden might meet not have the same impact when it comes to the Supreme Court, but is likely to leave an indelible mark on the lower and mid-level courts that make up the federal judiciary.
So far, Mr. Biden has appointed 69 district court judges, 30 circuit judges, and one member of the Supreme Court. Of Mr. Biden’s 100 appointees, to date 76 have been women and 68 identify as people of color.
“With every confirmation, we’re building a more fair and just court system,” said Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat. “Americans deserve a justice system that will work for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”