Senate Confirms First Openly Gay Asian-American Federal Judge

pamela-chenThe U.S. Senate actually manged to get something done last night and that something was rather historic: they confirmed the first openly gay Asian American to a seat on the federal bench.

Judge Pamela Ki Mai Chen was nominated by President Obama back in August to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

“I am proud to nominate this outstanding candidate to serve on the United States District Court bench,” the President said at the time.  “Pamela Chen has a long and distinguished record of service, and I am confident she will serve on the federal bench with distinction.”

Chen further adds to the diversity of Obama’s federal judicial appointees as his fourth openly gay judge, following New York’s Alison Nathan and J. Paul Oetken and California’s Michael Fitzgerald.

But according to the Washington Blade, there are still four openly gay judicial nominees awaiting confirmation:

Michael McShane, nominated as U.S. District Judge for the District of Oregon; and Nitza Quinones Alejandro, nominated as U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania — face a committee vote during an upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Thursday…William Thomas, who was nominated as U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida. Obama also nominated Todd Hughes to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Court. If confirmed, he’d be the first openly gay person to sit on a federal appeals court.

Senator Chuck Schumer, who initially recommended Chen to Obama as “a trailblazer in every sense of the word,” praised the Senate for confirming the Chinese-American judge, calling her “a leader and a pioneer in the legal field.”