On Monday President Obama announced his intent to nominate Chai Feldblum to serve as one of the five members of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Yesterday, her nomination was sent to the Senate for confirmation. Feldblum is currently a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, where she has taught since 1991. According to her faculty bio, Feldblum was instrumental in drafting and negotiating the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. She also helped draft and negotiate the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) and various medical privacy bills and regulations. In addition, Feldblum is the Director of Georgetown Law Center’s Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic, and is co-director of Workplace Flexibility 2010, an initiative aimed to advance a national policy on workplace flexibility. Feldblum has written a number of articles and books advocating disability and gay rights, and has on several occasions testified before Congress to promote the ADA Restoration Act of 2007, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and employment flexibility to benefit older workers, among other workplace issues.
Feldblum earned her undergraduate degree from Barnard College, and her law degree from Harvard Law School. Feldblum has clerked for Judge Frank M. Coffin on the First Circuit Court of Appeals and for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court.
If confirmed by the Senate, Feldblum would be the third Democrat to sit on the EEOC panel. Acting Chairman Stuart Ishimaru and Acting Vice Chair Christine Griffin are both Democrats, while Commissioner Constance Barker is currently the lone Republican serving on the Commission. Republican Naomi Earp, who served as EEOC Chair during the Bush Administration, resigned in the Spring. In July, President Obama nominated Democrat Jacqueline Berrien to serve as the new EEOC Chair. Acting Vice Chair Griffin – who has been confirmed to serve as the deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management – is allowed to remain on the Commission until a successor is approved.