Thursday, June 13, 2013

Latina Lesbian Confirmed To Federal Judgeship in PA!

By a voice vote, the United States Senate has unanimously confirmed the first (out!) lesbian of Hispanic heritage to a federal judgeship. Nitza Quiñones Alejandro will become a federal district court judge for the Eastern District of Pensuylvania when she is sworn in.

She is the sixth openly LGBT judge to be confirmed by the United States Senate during the administration of President Barack Obama. The previous five Obama-nominated federal judges confirmed by the Senate are:
J. Paul OetkenAli NathanMichael FitzgeraldPamela Ki Mai ChenMichael McShane
Prior to the Obama administration there was one openly LGBT federal judge confirmed by the Senate, Deborah Batts, nominated by President Clinton in the 1990s. Federal judges generally serve for life. All of the seven openly LGBT federal judges have served as district court judges, the lowest level in the federal judicial system.

There are still a number of pending nominations of openly LGBT individuals for federal judgeships. To date, no openly LGBT person has been confirmed for a federal appellate court. That is one level below the United States Supreme Court but Obama has nominated Todd Hughes and Edward Dumont to appellate position. Dumont withdrew his nomination after it was stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee in the previous Congress.

Lets hope the lavender ceiling will be broken soon and we'll have an openly LGBT appellate court judge confirmed by the U.S. Senate soon.

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