Latinos Slam Biden for Nominating Only One Hispanic Judge (MARCO BELLO/AFP via Getty Images)
By Brian Freeman | Wednesday, 07 April 2021 02:04 PM
Several prominent Latino legal civil rights groups criticized President Joe Biden for only including one Hispanic nominee for the federal bench after he recently unveiled his first slate of 11 judicial nominees, The Hill reported.
"We are extremely disappointed that the President included only one member of the Latino community in this first set of nominees to our federal courts," Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and Juan Cartagen, president of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, said in a joint statement. "This level of underrepresentation is utterly unacceptable when Latinos have been the largest minority group in this country since 2003, and when Latino voters are as responsible as any group of voters for Biden’s close electoral victory.”
The statement went on to point out that five of the 13 federal circuit courts of appeals have no Hispanic judge, and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has never had a Latino judge in its entire history.
The one Hispanic that Biden did nominate was Regina Rodriguez for the U.S. District Court in Colorado, who, if confirmed, would become the second female Hispanic judge of the court.
The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), which had formally endorsed her in February, praised Rodriguez’s nomination, but noted that she was the only Latino representative among the selections.
"If this Administration is truly committed to ensuring that our courts reflect the communities they serve, they will need to nominate more Hispanic candidates," HNBA President Elia Diaz-Yaeger said in a press release.
The organization stressed that it "is ready and committed to working with the Administration to ensure that [Rodriguez’s] nomination is only the beginning of more Latina and Latino nominations to come."
The joint statement by MALDEF and LatinoJustice/PRLDEF added that "Despite his record-breaking number of judicial appointments, Donald Trump appointed only one member of the Latino community to any court of appeals anywhere in the country. We expect the Biden Administration to do substantially better than its predecessor," but the statement emphasized that Biden’s choices so far are "not encouraging as far as the Latino community is concerned."
The president is expected to be announcing more judicial nominees over the coming weeks.
Among Biden’s first slate of 11 nominees were three Black women, as well as a man who would be the country’s first Muslim American federal district judge if confirmed, choices for which the president was praised.