After months of blocking 17 judicial nominees presented by President Obama, the Senate today confirmed the appointment of Michael Fitzgerald as a Federal Judge.
By an overwhelming vote of 91 - 6, the Senate made Judge Fitzgerald only the fourth openly gay to serve on the federal bench and the first outside of New York City (his nomination was to the federal court in Los Angeles).
Reports Chris Geidner at Metro Weekly:
The vote, which began a little after 2:24 p.m. today, came after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday, March 12, announced that he would be forcing debate and votes on 17 of Obama's judicial nominees if no deal was reached. On Wednesday, March 14, an agreement was reached between the parties' leaders to have the Senate vote in the coming weeks on 14 of President Obama's judicial nominees—including Fitzgerald.
No one spoke in opposition to the nomination, the vote on which was announced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who was presiding. Senators voting "no" were Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and David Vitter (R-La.).
“I’m grateful to the President and the Senate for appointing a judge who brings to the bench not only a keen intellect, a wealth of legal experience and strong ethics, but life experience as a gay man,” said L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean. “It’s essential to have sexual orientation and gender identity diversity on the bench for the same reason it’s important to have racial and gender diversity in the judiciary; the life experience of judges provides valuable insight, and influences, their interpretation of the law. As Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor once said, ‘Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.’
“I’ve known Mike, a longtime Center supporter, for many years," Jean continued, "and have every confidence he will serve our country with honor in the proud tradition of early Center board members Steve Lachs and Rand Schrader who were the first two openly gay municipal court judges in California and the nation.”
(Image: Metro Weekly)