Senate Confirms Lesbian as Judge of U.S. Court of Federal Claims

The Senate confirmed Elaine Kaplan, the acting director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as a judge by a vote of 64-35.

BY Daniel Reynolds

September 17 2013 6:48 PM ET

An out lesbian has been confirmed as a judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims, according to the official website of the U.S. Senate.

The Senate confirmed Elaine Kaplan by a vote of 64-35 at 12:03 p.m. today. Kaplan, who currently is the acting director of the United States Office of Personnel Management, had been nominated for the position by President Barack Obama in March.

She will serve a 15-year term in this judgeship, where she will hear monetary claims against the federal government.

"These nominees have dedicated their careers to serving the public good," said Obama after nominating Kaplan as well as Patricia Campbell-Smith, reported the Human Rights Campaign. "And in so doing, they have displayed an unyielding commitment to justice and integrity. I am confident that they will serve the American people well from the Court of Federal Claims, and I am honored to nominate them today."

As OPM's director, she helped guide the process of extending marriage-related benefits to gay and lesbian federal employees and their spouses after the U.S. Supreme Court declared section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Prior to this position, she served as head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an office she was appointed to by former President Bill Clinton in 1998.

The Brooklyn native graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1979, according to her OPM biography. She will assume the seat vacated by Judge Christine Odell Cook Miller, who retired from the court earlier this year.

Tags: Politics

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