WASHINGTON — As the Biden Administration announces Nicole Berner as their nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, National Council of Jewish Women CEO Sheila Katz released the following statement:
“Nicole Berner is an outstanding candidate with a demonstrated commitment to equal justice, working throughout her life to fight for the rights of those most at risk — particularly individuals with low incomes, people of color, and women. National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is thrilled to see such an extraordinary nominee to the Fourth Circuit from President Biden as well as Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen.
“During her legal career spanning more than two decades, Ms. Berner’s practice has focused on the intersections of economic and racial justice, gender equality, and LGBTQ rights. Notably, Ms. Berner helped to defend the Affordable Care Act, challenge the Defense of Marriage Act and other forms of marriage discrimination, as well as overturn Pennsylvania’s onerous voter ID requirement. Prior to her work at Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Ms. Berner served as a staff attorney at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, where she litigated cases in favor of expanded reproductive rights and health care. Additionally, Ms. Berner valiantly fought for landmark LGBTQ equality while she was litigation associate at Jenner & Block, one of the top appellate practices in the country.
“While living in Israel, Ms. Berner worked to advance democracy and women’s rights — propelling her desire to become a lawyer — and served as a litigant in a historic lawsuit to recognize her and her former spouse’s joint parental rights. The case is considered one of the most important LGBTQ rights decisions of the Supreme Court of Israel.
“Federal courts should reflect the communities they serve. In addition to her impressive background and professional record, Ms. Berner would bring a valuable perspective to the bench as only the third out lesbian on a circuit court and the first to sit on the Fourth Circuit, as well as the first labor lawyer and lawyer with reproductive rights expertise on that court. With cases in our federal courts related to abortion, LGBTQ rights, workers rights, voting rights, and other issues impacting people’s everyday lives, we know how important it is to have judges serving in these lifetime positions who inherently understand what is at stake through their lived experiences. Further, nominating a proud Jewish woman at a time when antisemitism is rapidly surging sends a strong message of support to all Jewish people living within the Fourth Circuit.
“So much of what guides Ms. Berner is derived from her Jewish values — the pursuit of justice, the belief in the inherent dignity of every person, and a commitment to equity — which would inform her decisions on the bench. Without question, Nicole Berner would bring to the court an unyielding ability to ensure that everyone would be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect. National Council of Jewish Women urges her swift confirmation.”