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Who is Nicole Berner?

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The Senate recently voted on whether to confirm Nicole Berner, who’s been nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Now, Berner has quite the resume. She’s been serving as the general counsel for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) since 2006, and before that, she worked as a staff attorney for Planned Parenthood. During her nomination hearing, she faced questions about her past advocacy work, particularly concerning some contentious issues. 

One major concern raised during the hearing was whether her background working for Big Labor might affect her ability to be impartial on the bench. Her involvement in certain policies, like the 2020 joint employer rule, raised some eyebrows among Republicans. 

There was also a bit of heat around a speech she gave back in 2018 regarding the right-to-work movement, where she referred to it as “deeply racist.” Berner clarified that she was speaking about the historical roots of the movement and not labeling its participants as racist. 
Nevertheless, the Senate—voting along party lines—ultimately moved forward with her confirmation. 
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if she’s truly prepared to approach her judicial duties with objectivity and fairness as she says she is.

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Isabel Blank

Isabel Blank is Communications Director at Americans for Fair Treatment, a community of current and former public-sector employees offering resources and support to exercise their First Amendment rights. Prior to joining Americans for Fair Treatment in 2021, Isabel worked in media relations at Travelers Insurance and held government affairs and communications roles with Yankee Institute. She has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish, both from the University of Connecticut (Go Huskies!). Isabel loves Crossfit and supporting her local Connecticut breweries.