On the day President Obama took office, there was only one openly gay judge with a lifetime appointment to the federal bench, Clinton appointee Deborah Batts, who took partial retirement last year. There are now seven. Earlier today, the Senate confirmed openly lesbian Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro to a federal district court in Pennsylvania. Judge Quiñones joins Judges Alison Nathan, Paul Oetken, Michael Fitzgerald, Michael McShane and Pamela Ki Mai Chen, all of whom are openly gay federal judges appointed by President Obama.
Judge Quiñones was confirmed by a voice vote, a process typically used for uncontroversial nominees. She enjoyed the support of both her home state senators, Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA).