As a civil rights organization fighting for the lived equality of all LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV, Lambda Legal has a vested interest in the integrity of the judicial system in the United States. Therefore, we have been tracking federal judicial nominations for many years, increasing our focus as the Trump administration radically reshaped the federal bench. Nearly 40% of all federal appellate judges confirmed during his presidency demonstrated a history of hostility toward LGBTQ+ people. Due to Trump’s enormous impact on the federal bench, one of Lambda Legal’s first asks of the Biden administration was that it focus on reversing the damage done to our federal judiciary. For the past two years, President Biden has prioritized nominating a diverse set of well-qualified, fair, and impartial judges to the federal courts. While there have been momentous, record-breaking improvements to the diversity of the federal bench during the Biden administration, LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV are still significantly underrepresented. With the increase in people who openly identify as LGBTQ+ in the United States and the few new confirmations of openly LGBTQ+ judges, the gap in LGBTQ+ representation on the federal bench actually increased from what we reported last year.
We are asking the Biden administration, again, to prioritize the nominations of LGBTQ+ judges and judges living with HIV, particularly LGBTQ+ judges of color who are currently less than one percent of all Article III judges;1 judges living with HIV; and transgender, nonbinary, and bisexual judges. Currently, there are no openly bisexual, transgender, or nonbinary judges on the federal courts. We are also asking that President Biden focus on filling vacancies in states where there is currently no LGBTQ+ representation at all, particularly in the U.S. South.