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Obama Nominates Another Gay Man for Federal Bench

Obama Nominates Another Gay Man for Federal Bench

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lucasgrindley

The potential for a significant change in the number of openly gay judges serving on the federal bench continued Wednesday with the nomination of Michael Walter Fitzgerald by President Obama.

His nomination comes on the heels of Paul Oetken's confirmation as a federal judge Monday. Oetken became the first openly gay man ever confirmed in a Senate vote.

Already serving is U.S. district judge Deborah Batts, a lesbian appointed during the Clinton administration.

Obama praised Fitzgerald, who is a partner at a Los Angeles law firm, for his "impressive career" and "formidable intellect." Obama has also nominated Alison Nathan for a judgeship in the Southern District of New York and Edmund Dumont as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Retired judge Vaughn Walker, who was nominated as a U.S. district judge by George H.W. Bush in 1989, was outed as gay during a case about the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8. Supporters of that amendment had argued Walker was unfit to make decisions in the case because of his sexual orientation.

Although supporters of Oetken's nomination pointed to the need for LGBT judges, Walker told Reuters a judge's sexual orientation should never be a factor in a case. "That's a very slippery slope," Walker said.

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Lucas Grindley

Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.
Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.