By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com May 24 2013 2:52 PM ET
President Obama has nominated Chai Feldblum, a lesbian attorney and expert on laws affecting LGBT people, the disabled, and health care policy, for a second term on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Human Rights Campaign reports on its blog.
Feldblum’s first term ends July 1. She has been an EEOC member since 2010 and is the first out LGBT person to serve on the commission. A highlight of her first term was last year’s unanimous ruling that discrimination against transgender people amounts to sex discrimination and is therefore banned by federal law.
Feldblum’s initial nomination to the commission was highly controversial, with many conservative activists objecting to her outspoken support for LGBT causes. The Senate failed to confirm her appointment after a hearing in late 2009, so the president used his recess appointment power to put her on the EEOC in March 2010. In December of that year the Senate finally voted to confirm her.
She has taught at Georgetown University Law Center and worked as an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union. She helped draft the Americans With Disabilities Act, a federal law passed in 1990 to protect the rights of disabled people, and the still-pending Employment Non-Discrimination Act.