Romney’s ‘Binders Full Of Women’ Didn’t Include Many Judges

In his second debate with President Obama, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was asked how he would close the pay gap between men and women. Rather than answer the question, he instead told a false story about how he requested “binders full of women” to help him select female candidates to serve in his cabinet while he was governor of Massachusetts. In reality, Romney did not request these binders; they were assembled by a bipartisan group called MassGAP and presented to him after his election. According to a UMass-Boston study, “the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006.”

As it turns out, Romney also didn’t spend much time going through the binders when it was time to select judges:

By 2005, after two years in office, Romney had nominated 19 judges, of which 17 were men, according to the Associated Press.

With the governor taking heat, a Romney spokesperson argued in a 2005 Boston Globe story that there had a been a lack of qualified women and minority applicants. . . .

But the Boston Herald reported in March 2006 that Romney had passed over a number of widely respected women, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette E.M. Leoney, Boston lawyer Toni Wolfman, who represented the NAACP, and trial attorney Sally Ann Janulevicus. Leoney was later appointed to a judgeship by Gov. Deval Patrick, Romney’s successor.

Marianne LeBlanc, president of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts from 2004 to 2005, told The Huffington Post that her organization was aware of a “substantial number of very qualified women” who had applied for judgeships.

By contrast, Romney’s successor, Gov. Deval Patrick (D) nominated 57 judges between January 2007 and June 2010. 28 were women.

Romney has also promised to appoint more Supreme Court justices in the vein of Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito, all of whom joined the Court’s anti-pay equality decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire. The co-chair of Romney’s “Judicial Advisory Committee” is failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, who once claimed it is “utterly specious” to suggest that women have a constitutional right to use contraception. Bork also believes that the Constitution does not protect women from gender discrimination — and he recently said it was “silly” to think that women are discriminated against.