Nancy Polikoff

Chai Feldblum nominated to EEOC

Filed By Nancy Polikoff | September 15, 2009 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Chai Feldblum, EEOC, Obama appointments

The White House announced Monday that it will nominate Chai Feldblum, LGBT rights scholar and advocate, to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Chai is a Georgetown Law Professor, former law clerk to former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, a primary mover behind passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and a longtime advocate for people with disabilities. She is also the partner of Bilerico contributor Nan Hunter.

Chai is the first openly gay or lesbian person appointed to the EEOC, which issues regulations implementing anti-discrimination laws (including ENDA when it passes!) and which authorizes test case litigation under anti-discrimination laws. If confirmed, she will serve a five year term.

Bilerico readers who remember the early Clinton years may remember the Senate confirmation battle over Roberta Achtenberg, nominated to be Assistant Secretary of HUD. She was confirmed, but not before Jesse Helms referred to her as that "damn lesbian." Achtenberg was the former executive director of the Lesbian Rights Project/National Center for Lesbian Rights. So she wasn't just a lesbian, she was an activist.

Jesse Helms is long gone, but the Alliance Defense Fund already has set its sights on Feldblum.

Chai is known in legal scholarship circles for countering arguments about the immorality of homosexuality with assertions of the morality of our lives and relationships. Not content to respond to anti-gay arguments by saying that the belief that homosexuality is immoral should not drive public policy, Chai has urged meeting arguments about morality with arguments about morality. For more on her point of view, check out the website of the Moral Values Project.

She has an extensive written record of support for LGBT rights. Her comments on laws affecting LGBT people have appeared in numerous newspapers and other publications. She has given dozens of public lectures on gay rights issues. Of the gay men and lesbians whom Obama has tapped for visible spots in his administration, Chai is the one with the most extensive record of efforts on behalf of LGBT rights. If that makes her a target, her impeccable qualifications should more than counter attempts to scuttle her nomination, but it might get ugly. I hope she has the stomach for it, because all of us, and all who support equality, are going to benefit from her brilliance, dedication, and commitment to justice.

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I don't know Chai - only Nan. But I know Nan would never choose a partner that did anything halfway. Chai's accomplishments stand for themselves, obviously, but I'm even more confident since I know Nan.

I agree with you in every word. Great Comment, Bil!

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