The White House announced on Thursday that President Joe Biden is nominating a Vermont judge who has played a critical role in paving the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage to become the first openly LGBT woman to serve on a federal circuit court.
Biden is nominating Beth Robinson, an associate justice on the Vermont Supreme Court since 2011, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. The court’s territory includes Connecticut, New York, and Vermont. From 1993 to 2010, Robinson was a civil litigator in private practice at Langrock Sperry & Wool, where she focused on employment law, workers’ compensation, contract disputes, and family law. In 1999, she helped argue the case that led to Vermont’s civil unions’ law, the first legal recognition in the country of same-sex relationships. From 2010 to 2011, Robinson served as counsel to Vermont Democrat Governor Peter Shumlin.
Before all of this though, Robinson worked at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Washington D.C., where she focused on white-collar criminal defense. She was a law clerk for Judge David Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia from 1989 to 1990.
This is a landmark moment that is much overdue as there may have been LGBT people to serve on a federal circuit court, it must be made clear that there has never been an LGBT woman given this position. On that note, the White House also announced that Biden is nominating employment law attorney Charlotte Sweeney for the U.S. District Court in Colorado. She would become the first openly LGBT woman to serve a federal district in any state west of the Mississippi.