Vermont Supreme Court Judge Beth Robinson has been confirmed in the U.S. Appeal, making her the first female partner to serve in any of the organisation's regional courts.
The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Robinson 51-45 on Monday after President Joe Biden appointed him in August. The 13 state appellate courts, or district courts, are the final courts before the case is heard in the Supreme Court.
Robinson, 56, has served as a justice colleague in the Vermont Supreme Court since 2011 and was previously the attorney general of Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin from 2010 to 2011.
As a judge with Langrock Sperry & Wool from 1993 to 2010, he represented LGBTQ clients in several human rights cases and served as his counsel in the Baker v case. State of Vermont, where the Vermont Supreme Court ruled in favor of banning same-sex marriage. marriage is against the law of the land. That decision in 1999 led to the Vermont Legislature passing the country's first union law, which preceded same-sex marriage, the following year.
As chairman of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, Robinson then helped bring gay marriage to Green Mountain State in 2009, making it the first to legalize it instead of a court ruling.
His confirmation means that Circuit 2, which is hearing cases from New York, Connecticut and Vermont, will now have a majority of Democratic Alliance nominees, reports the Advocate.
In August, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, from the Republic, came across the road to commend Robinson's appointment.
"He will make a positive contribution to the United States Regional Court of Appeal for the Second World Court," he said in a statement on Vermont's provincial motto, "bringing Vermont's standards of commitment to justice and equality, impartiality, and Freedom and Unity bench."
In a statement to the Senate ahead of Monday's vote, Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Praised Robinson's work as "a demonstration of his commitment to the rule of law."
"Beth has changed the course of LGBTQ rights in this country, and her tireless work has led our nation to justice," she added.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vt., Said on Twitter on Monday, "I know he will make Vermont proud and it will be a great addition to the state bench."
Robinson, however, was not without critics. During his September confirmation hearing, Senator Ted Cruz, in R-Texas, expressed concern that his record as a judge and attorney showed “a serious animosity toward religious freedom.”
According to Lambda Legal, the leading LGBTQ human rights group, of the organization's 870 judges on the bench, only 13 are openly gay or lesbian. There are also no known legal directors who are biased or transgender.
"The representation of LGBT in the courts is important because the judges who accurately reflect the diversity of our nation provide the legitimacy of these important institutions, which have such a profound impact on the lives of so many," said Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal and Legal Officer. director, said the statement. "Judge Robinson's life and practical experience will be instrumental in his work to fulfill the promise of justice for our country."
In the same round of nominees in August, Biden again nominated Charlotte Sweeney to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Colorado Regional Court.
Her hearing has not yet been scheduled, but, if confirmed, she will be the first LGBTQ judge in the province, according to the White House, as well as the first open LGBTQ woman serving as an organization.