Obama Nominates Chai Feldblum, LGBT/Equality Scholar, to EEOC Post



Wow.  Just in from the mailbag:

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals today:

Chai R. Feldblum, Nominee for Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Chai Feldblum is a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center where she has taught since 1991. She also founded the Law Center’s Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic, a program designed to train students to become legislative lawyers.   Feldblum previously served as Legislative Counsel to the AIDS Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.  In this role, she developed legislation, analyzed policy on various AIDS-related issues, and played a leading role in the drafting of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and, later as a law professor, in the passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. She has also worked on advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and has been a leading expert on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.  As Co-Director of Workplace Flexibility 2010, Feldblum has worked to advance flexible workplaces in a manner that works for employees and employers.  Feldblum clerked for Judge Frank Coffin and for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun.  She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and B.A. from Barnard College.

This is astounding, fantastic news.  Chai — a Georgetown Law Professor (bio) — has been at the forefront of the struggle for LGBT and disabilities equality issues and fighting HIV/AIDS discrimination for as long as I’ve been around.  She’s openly lesbian and one of the most respected voices on nondiscrimination legislation in D.C.  Moments like these are why we fought to get Obama elected.

Feldblum would be one of five commissioners at the EEOC, and the term is for five years.

This certainly will lead to some heavy debate in the Senate because of the role Feldblum has played over the past years.

To see what I mean, here’s just a small sampling of her recent work:

  • Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion, 72 Brook. L. Rev. 61-123 (2006).
  • The Right to Define One’s Own Concept of Existence: What Lawrence Can Mean for Intersex and Transgender People, 7 Geo. J. Gender & L. 115-139 (2006).
  • Gay is Good: The Moral Case for Marriage Equality and More, 17 Yale J.L. & Feminism 139-184 (2005).
  • The Definition of Disability in the Americans With Disabilities Act: Its Successes and Shortcomings, 9 Emp. Rts. & Emp. Pol’y J. 473-498 (2005) (co-authored piece).

Feldblum also has appeared before Congress quite often and has participated in Supreme Court (and other) litigation on EEOC-related issues.  There’s going to be a lot to look into and talk about before the Senate is done with her.  Don’t be surprised if some Right-wing group decides to take on this nomination.

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About the Author

Chris Geidner is the award-winning senior political & legal reporter at BuzzFeed and has written for Metro Weekly, The Atlantic Online, The American Prospect, Advocate.com, Salon and other publications, as well as at his blog, Law Dork. He has appeared regularly on television commenting on current affairs, including MSNBC, PBS, HLN & Current. Prior to moving to D.C. in 2009, he served as an attorney on the senior staff at the Ohio Attorney General's Office and had earlier worked for a leading Columbus law firm. An extended biography can be found here, and you can follow him on Twitter.