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Popular Topics in The Arts
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Congratulations
 
Congratulations to Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 11/28/12
Last updated on: 11/28/12
 
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On November 27, 2012, President Obama nominated Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas to a federal judgeship in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Judge Quiñones will be the first openly gay Hispanic woman to serve on the federal bench.

Judge Quiñones is one of three judges President Obama nominated on November 27 to serve in the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania. According to the Human Rights Campaign, Senator Bob Casey recommended Quiñones.

In a statement, the President said of his new nominees, "These men and women have had distinguished legal careers and I am honored to ask them to continue their work as judges on the federal bench. They will serve the American people with integrity and an unwavering commitment to justice."

As Julie Bolcer reports in The Advocate, Quiñones earned both a B.A. and a law degree from the University of Puerto Rico. She began her legal career as a staff attorney for Community Legal Services in Philadelphia in 1975. She subsequently worked as an attorney advisor for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1977 to 1979 and as a staff attorney for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from 1979 to 1991.

Judge Quiñones is the eighth openly gay life-tenured federal court judicial nominee named by President Obama.

Three of the President's nominees have been approved by the Senate. Judges J. Paul Oetken and Alison Nathan both now sit on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Judge Michael Fitzgerald sits on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Awaiting confirmation by the Senate are, in addition to Quiñones, Pamela Ki Mai Chen, an out lesbian who was nominated this summer to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Judge Michael McShane, an openly gay man who was nominated in September to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, and Judge William Thomas, who was recently nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The final openly gay judicial nominee put forward by President Obama, Edward DuMont, eventually had his nomination withdrawn after there was no movement on it over the course of two sessions of Congress. He was nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Before President Obama, only one openly gay or lesbian person was nominated to the federal bench. Judge Deborah Batts, the first openly lesbian federal judge, was nominated by President Clinton and serves on the Southern District of New York bench. She took "senior status," a near retirement, earlier this year and made news a year ago when she wed Dr. Gwen Zornberg, as reported here.

 
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