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First Openly Gay Man Recommended for Federal Judge


Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York is recommending that President Obama nominate an openly gay man to serve as a federal judge for the first time. Daniel Alter has been designated by the senator for the U.S. district court for the southern district of New York, subject to Senate confirmation.

Schumer noted the historic nature of the recommendation in a statement, according to DC Agenda.

"His outstanding leadership skills, his commitment to justice, and his extensive experience make him an exceptional choice for a position on the federal bench," said Schumer. "I'm proud to nominate Daniel Alter. Period. But I am equally proud to nominate him because he is a history-maker who will be the first openly gay male judge in American history."

Schumer is the senior senator from New York. Presidents traditionally follow the judicial nomination recommendations of the senior senator from the state where this is a vacancy.

According to DC Agenda, Alter is a graduate of Columbia College and Yale Law School. His experience includes six years as an assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York and service as national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed Deborah Batts, an out lesbian, to serve as federal judge for the U.S. district court of the southern district of New York.

The Alter recommendation arrives as the San Francisco Chronicle reported this week that Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. district court for the northern district of California, who is presiding over the Proposition 8 trial, is gay. Walker has not commented on the report.

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