Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Judge Stephanie Rose to a federal court in Iowa, making her the 72nd woman appointed to the federal bench by President Obama. Coincidentally, 72 is also the same number of women President George W. Bush appointed to the bench during his entire presidency — meaning that Obama accomplished in under one term something that took his predecessor two full terms to complete. President Bill Clinton appointed more women to the bench than any other president, 111, but only 61 were appointed in his first term.
Obama achieved his milestone despite a campaign of obstruction by Senate Republicans severe enough that it drew criticism from conservative Chief Justice John Roberts. Unfortunately, President Obama has also been slower than his immediate predecessors in naming judicial nominees. The nominees Obama has sent to the senate for confirmation have, however, been more diverse that the nominees selected by his predecessors.
Earlier this year, President Obama achieved another diversity milestone when he named his fifth openly gay judicial nominee. Three of the four openly gay judges currently serving lifetime appointments to the federal bench are Obama appointees.