The White House just announced that it has nominated Georgetown Law Center’s Professor Chai Feldblum as a Commissioner to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is huge not only because Feldblum would be the first out lesbian or gay person on the EEOC (which, as Nan Hunter points out will gain particular significance when/if ENDA is enacted), but more generally because Feldblum is among the smartest and most experienced lawyers working on the administrative interpretation and enforcement of anti-discrimination laws.
Chai was at the center of the policy team that aided Congress and the first Bush Administration in the drafting of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its accompanying regulations and implementation, played a crucial role in the writing of the Ryan White CARE Act, has developed legal and legislative strategies to expand anti-discrimination protections for transgendered people, and has been a key player in the many-year effort to gain passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which could add sexual orientation and gender identity protections to federal non-discrimination laws. Feldblum has fought efforts to remove the gender identity provisions from ENDA, a strategy urged by some, including Rep. Barney Frank, to gain broader support for the legislation.
Not incidentally, after serving as Legislative Counsel to the ACLU’s AIDS Project, Feldblum founded Georgetown’s Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic, a program designed to train students to become legislative lawyers. It is hard to imagine a more qualified appointment to the EEOC.
It’s also a delight to see a White House Press Release that uses the words lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender as something other than an epithet.