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Congratulations to Chai Feldblum
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 12/12/13
Last updated on: 12/12/13
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Chai Feldblum.

Congratulations to Chai Feldblum, whose nomination to a second term as a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 12, 2013. Feldblum is the first openly gay person to serve on the commission, which enforces federal laws against workplace discrimination.

Chris Johnson reports in the Washington Blade that Feldblum was confirmed on a 54-41 vote. Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were the only Republicans to vote in favor of her confirmation.

Feldblum's confirmation was made possible only because Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid exercised the "nuclear option" earlier this month to lower the vote threshold necessary for proceeding to votes on presidential appointments. The vote on cloture in her case was 57 to 39; previously, it would have taken 60 votes to invoke cloture.

Feldblum is credited with coordinating a unanimous decision last year in the case of Macy v. Holder that interpreted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to protect transgender people.

Tico Almeida, president of Freedom of Work, commended the Senate for confirming Feldblum to the EEOC, where he said she "has worked tirelessly to build bi-partisan consensus on improvements to America's laws that give all workers a fair shot at the American Dream."

"Feldblum deserves our praise not only for her leading role in the unanimous EEOC decision in Macy v. Holder, but also for her leadership in drafting the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan, which explicitly lists workplace protections for LGBT Americans among the commission's national priorities," Almeida added.

Prior to serving on the EEOC, Feldblum, a daughter of a Holocaust survivor, was a law professor at Georgetown University. She was also a nationally recognized gay rights attorney. In addition to drafting the Americans with Disabilities Act, she also wrote the base version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which was recently passed by the Senate, but remains blocked in the House.

Feldblum also served as the legal director for the Campaign for Military Service, a group that fought in the early 1990s against the enactment of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

She is the partner of Nan Hunter, a Georgetown University law professor and blogger.

In the video below, from 2010, Feldblum discusses her career and the glbtq rights movement.

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