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Congratulations to Judith Levy
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 03/13/14
Last updated on: 03/13/14
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Congratulations to Judith Levy, who on March 12, 2014 was confirmed to a seat on the federal judiciary. Levy, who was nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, was confirmed by a unanimous vote of 97-O. She will become the tenth openly gay judge to serve in the federal judiciary.

As Chris Johnson reported in the Washington Blade, Levy has been an assistant U.S. Attorney for Eastern Michigan since 2000, and since 2011, chief of the office's civil rights division. She was rated by the American Bar Association as "unanimously qualified."

Levy was educated at the University of Michigan, where she received a B.S. degree in 1981 and a J.D. degree in 1996. From 1996 to 1999, she served as a law clerk to Judge Bernard A. Friedman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, who recently presided over DeBoer v. Snyder, the Michigan marriage trial.

Levy has been a member of the Human Rights Campaign from 2001 to present and is a board member for DOJ Pride, the affinity group for LGBT employees at the Justice Department. She will become the first openly gay judge to serve on federal court in Michigan.

D'Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of the LGBT Bar Association, commended the Senate for confirming Levy and for increasing glbtq representation on the federal judiciary.

"Judith Levy will make an incredible addition to Michigan's judiciary," Kemnitz said. "LGBT representation in our courts is critical and speaks to the tremendous advocacy and support our community has received."

Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, commended the Senate for confirming Levy and said her record will make her an excellent contribution to the federal judiciary.

"The President welcomes the confirmation of Judith Levy," Inouye said. "She will serve the American people well from the Eastern District of Michigan bench.

Other openly gay federal judges include Judge Vaughn Walker, who was nominated by President Reagan to the Northern District of California; now retired, he did not come out until 2010 when he presided over the Proposition 8 trial; and Judge Deborah Batts, the first openly lesbian federal judge, who was nominated by President Clinton and serves in a "senior status" on the Southern District of New York bench.

The other openly gay judges were all nominated by President Obama. They include the following. Judge J. Paul Oetken and Judge Alison Nathan both 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.

Judge Pamela Ki Mai Chen serves on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York; Judge Michael McShane serves on the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon; Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro serves on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Judge Todd Hughes, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal District, is the first openly gay judge to sit on an appellate bench.

Edward DuMont was nominated for seat on the serve on, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, but withdrew his nomination after there was no movement on it over the course of two sessions of Congress.

Judge William Thomas was nominated in October 2012 to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, but his nomination was blocked by Senator Marco Rubio. Had Thomas been confirmed, he would have been the first openly gay African-American federal judge.

An openly lesbian African American, Staci Michelle Yandle, has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Illinois. Her nomination was approved on March 12, 2014 by the Senate Judiciary Committee and will soon be voted on by the full Senate.

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