Earlier this afternoon, the Senate confirmed Judge Michael Fitzgerald to a federal court in California by a 91-6 vote. Fitzgerald is President Obama’s fourth openly gay nominee to the federal courts, although one of these four nominees, attorney Edward DuMont, withdrew his nomination last year in frustration over Senate Republican obstructionism. The other two out nominees, Judges Alison Nathan and Paul Oetken were both confirmed to federal trial courts.
Sadly, Fitzgerald’s confirmation only highlights how rare an event the confirmation of an openly gay federal judge is. Fitzgerald joins Nathan, Oetken and a Clinton appointee named Deborah Batts as one of the only four openly gay lifetime tenured federal judges in American history.
Chris Johnson at The Washington Blade obtained a statement from Fitzgerald:
FITZGERALD: I am honored by the Senate’s confirmation vote today. I am grateful to the President for my nomination. I am grateful to Senator Boxer for her recommendation of me to the President. I am grateful to Senator Feinstein for her support in the Senate Judiciary Committee. I look forward to serving the people of the Central District of California.