U.S. SENATE CONFIRMS EEOC CHAIR, TWO COMMISSIONERS AND GENERAL COUNSEL
All Four Had Been Serving Under Recess Appointments
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WASHINGTONIn one of its last acts of the current session, on December 22, 2010, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nominations of Jacqueline A. Berrien to be Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Chai R. Feldblum ( a long-time lesbian activist ) and Victoria A. Lipnic to be Commissioners; and P. David Lopez to be the General Counsel. All four were nominated to their positions by President Barack Obama and had been serving under recess appointments since April, 2010.
Jacqueline A. Berrien came to the Commission from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund where she was the Associate Director-Counsel. She has spent her entire legal career in public service, focusing on constitutional and civil rights issues. A graduate of Oberlin College, she received her law degree from Harvard and clerked for O.W. Clemon, the first African-American U.S. District Court Judge in Birmingham, Ala. She will serve a term that expires on July 1, 2014.
Chai R. Feldblum, came to the EEOC from Georgetown University Law Center where she had taught since 1991. Previously, while at the American Civil Liberties Union, she worked on the drafting of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and later, while at Georgetown, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Commissioner Feldblum clerked for Judge Frank Coffin of the First Circuit Court of Appeals and for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun after receiving a law degree from Harvard. She is a graduate of Barnard College. Her term at the EEOC will expire on July 1, 2013.
Victoria A. Lipnic came to the EEOC immediately from the Washington office of the law firm of Seyfarth Shaw LLP where she was of counsel. Previously, she served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment Standards where she oversaw the Wage and Hour Division and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, among others. She graduated from Allegheny College and received her law degree from George Mason University. Her term will expire on July 1, 2015.
These three join Commissioners Stuart J. Ishimaru and Constance S. Barker. The EEOC now has a full complement of members, all of whom are serving staggered five year terms. By law, no more than three of them may be from the same political party. Commissioner Ishimaru's term expires on July 1, 2012 and Commissioner Barker's on July 1, 2011.
P. David Lopez was confirmed as General Counsel to a four year term. He is the first General Counsel to be confirmed by the Senate who came from the EEOC's field litigation staff where he was a Supervisory Trial Attorney in the Commission's Phoenix District Office. Previously, he served as Special Assistant to then-Chair Gilbert F. Casellas in Washington, as well as working in the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and in private practice. He is a graduate of Arizona State University and Harvard Law School.
In the period of time since the recess appointments, the EEOC has continued to rebuild capacityhiring new front-line staff to handle the record number of charges of discriminationas well as tackling a host of employment issues. Notably, the EEOC finalized regulations under the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act and held two significant Commission meetings exploring barriers to employment. These included the use of credit histories as employment screening devices, and the impact of the economic situation on older workers.
The EEOC enforces the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov . More information concerning the Commissioners and General Counsel can be found atwww.eeoc.gov/eeoc/commission.cfm.