On Monday, Oct. 25, the Senate voted to confirm voting rights advocate Myrna Perez as a judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, making her the only Latina on the court and the first since Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed to the Supreme Court.
Perez was confirmed by a 48-43 vote.
"She is an exceptional lawyer who has demonstrated throughout her career that she has the experience, intellect and temperament to be an extraordinary U.S. appeals court judge," Carlos Bollar, national president of the Hispanic National Bar Association, said in a released statement.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praised the confirmation, calling Perez an incredible person.
"With the national focus on voting rights now, it's a significant step to elevate Ms. Perez," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Perez served as director of the voting rights and elections programs at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice, which has criticized voter ID laws and laws shortening the time for early voting, as well as other measures that restrict voting.
Her confirmation helps President Joe Biden mitigate criticism from Latinos and others about the dearth of Hispanics among his first judicial appointments.
Latino groups urged Biden and the Senate to increase Latino appointments to the federal courts.
"The two additional Second Circuit seats that recently opened up present another opportunity to do just that", Andrea Nill Sanchez, director of Latinos for a Fair Judiciary, told NBC.
Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Latino Defense and Education Fund, said the fact she will be the only active Latina judge on the Second Circuit "indicates the need to accelerate and prioritize efforts" to increase the number of Latino federal judges.