Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) on Wednesday slammed President Joe Biden's focus on the race and gender of judicial nominees in some of the harshest terms yet.
"It’s offensive to all Americans to have a president seeming to view our judiciary as some kind of crude sociological math problem," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "This is just the kind of thing our Constitution cuts against."
McConnell's remarks came after Biden on Tuesday celebrated the confirmation of his 100th judicial nominee, Gina R. Mendez-Miro, who will serve on the Puerto Rico Court of Appeals. Biden highlighted in a press release that Mendez-Miro will "be the first openly LGBTQI+ judge to serve on that court."
Whether Mendez-Miro was the most qualified choice is unclear, McConnell said, accusing Biden and his fellow Democrats of talking "like the H.R. department at some liberal university."
"Both the president and the Democratic leader focused their comments overwhelmingly on identity politics and demographic box-checking," McConnell said. "The president’s statement spent literally one part of one sentence paying lip service to the question of legal qualifications."
Biden’s judicial nominees held fewer clerkships at the Supreme Court or appellate level than did those of former president Donald Trump, McConnell noted.
Republicans have previously raised questions about the competence of some of Biden’s judicial nominees, including Judge Charnelle Bjelkengren, who could not say what Articles II or V of the Constitution do during her confirmation hearing last month.
With the Supreme Court considering challenges to race-based college admissions, McConnell reminded Biden that affirmative action policies remain deeply unpopular with the public.
"Do you know what share of Americans believe race or ethnicity should be a major factor in university admissions? Seven percent," McConnell said, citing a 2022 Pew Research Center poll. "Do you know what percentage believe that gender should be a major factor in university admissions? Four percent."