Congratulations to Judge Oetken

by on July 18, 2011  •  In Congress, Judiciary

Paul Oetken will become a member of the same court – the Southern District of New York – where Judge Deborah Batts, the first openly lesbian federal judge, sits.  Judge Batts was appointed by President Clinton in 1994; at that time, her sexual orientation was not known to the public. President Clinton also appointed openly lesbian Judge Emily Hewitt to the U.S. Court of Claims in 1998. Since those appointments, there has been no other openly gay person confirmed for a federal judgeship until now. From Politico:

The Senate on Monday voted 80-13 to confirm JUDGE-articleInline Paul Oetken, making him the first openly gay male federal judge.

Oetken, a former Justice Department attorney and White House associate counsel during the Clinton administration, will serve on the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Twenty-seven Republicans, including conservative Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), John Cornyn (R-Texas and Tom Coburn (R- Okla.), joined all Democrats in voting aye. All 13 no votes were cast by Republicans: Roy Blunt (Mo.), John Boozman (Ark.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Jim DeMint (S.C.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Jerry Moran (Kansas), Jim Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kansas) and Roger Wicker (Miss.).

Oetken’s nomination cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee in April with no opposition, but it had been stalled on the Senate calendar for three months. More than 20 of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees are pending before the Senate, including 17 who received unanimous approval in committee.


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