Obama Nominates Another Gay Judicial Candidate to Federal Bench

UPDATE: Obama has made the nomination.

Fitzgerald"I am honored to nominate Michael Walter Fitzgerald to the United States District Court," President Obama said.  "His impressive career stands as a testament to his formidable intellect and integrity.  I am confident he will serve the people of California with distinction on the District Court bench."

Earlier post

Politico reports that Obama is planning to nominate a fourth openly gay judicial candidate:

The White House plans to announce the nomination of Michael Fitzgerald, a lawyer with Corbin, Fitzgerald and Athey, to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Fitzgerald, 51, a graduate of Harvard University and the University of California Berkley Law School, previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney in California and has been a practicing trial lawyer for 20 years.

Another Obama nominee, J. Paul Oetken, was confirmed this week as U.S. District Judge for Southern New York and will be the first out gay man to serve on the federal judiciary.

Politico adds that confirmation for two others is still pending:

Alison Nathan, another openly gay nominee to the Southern District of New York, was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Edward DuMont, who was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, has not yet been reported out of the Judiciary Committee.


  1. ohplease says

    How surprising that, with 2012 just months away, Obama suddenly wants to be our bestest friend ever.

    Try harder, Barry. Say that I’m your equal in every way and you have my vote.

    That is NOT too much to ask of the President of the United States in the year 2011, let alone the first one to be born of a marriage that was illegal in several states at the time of his own birth.

  2. guest says

    Quite frankly, I approve of the way he’s been supporting equal rights and representation. Much better than publicly risking all of the significant strides we’ve already made in the first years of his term. To demand otherwise is to ignore the Republican and Tea parties, which we cannot afford to do.

  3. Derrick from Philly says

    “Try harder, Barry. Say that I’m your equal in every way and you have my vote.”

    Oh, please, don’t be ridiculous. You cannot be equal to the President of the United States when you’re only the Prime Minister of Fire Island.

  4. The Turtle says

    I agree with guest. You first have to have a firm foundation before you build a temple of civil rights. Sadly these things take time. How many years did it take for racial civil rights to be implemented after Dr. King was jailed and Rosa Parks sat down? (Some might say we haven’t gotten full rights yet, even today.)
    Clinton tried with one huge swing of the bat for health care reform; and nothing happened for over 16 years after that attempt.
    Obama is moving slowly, but he has to. DADT is dead, but he needed the armed forces to (for the most part) get on board and get ready for the change; DOMA is dying, thanks to the initiatives of the states who have pushed for marriage equality. President Obama has nominated more Out individuals to places of power than any other President.
    Like has already been said, would this have occurred under President McCain? Will these advances remain under a GOP/Tea Party President in 2012?

  5. Anthony-S says

    First, the Department of Justice threw the kitchen sink at DOMA on July 1st, which gave all LGBT cases the new ammunition of “heightened scrutiny”. Now the federal judiciary is representing the population more fairly? Don’t be fooled. It’s just a clever ploy to confuse unwary LGBT voters. How very sly. It’s all a conspiracy, I tell you!

    Proud to be a member of (drum roll):

    The few. The proud. The paranoid.

  6. anthony says

    @Ohplease, DuMont was originally nominated in April 2010 (and then renominated with the new Congress); Oetken in Jan 2011, Nathan in March 2011, and now Fitzgerald in July. This hardly constitutes a ramping up of nominations to win over the lgbt community (these things, although positive, are unlikely to win votes). What this is indicative of, in my opinion, is a larger trend of Obama making good on his promise to nominate judges who are diverse across the board.

    Obama appointed the first African American to serve on the First Circuit, the first Hispanic American to serve on the Fourth Circuit, and the first Asian American to serve on the Second Circuit. Additionally, Obama appointed women to two of the nine states where no women have served on a district court; African Americans were confirmed to district courts in two states where none had prevously served. Out of 61 judicial appointments 43 were women or people of color. So when we talk about these openly gay nominees, I think it is more accurate to describe this as a larger commitment by this president to diversity on the bench rather than the more cynical view that he’s just doing it to try and get the gay vote.

  7. Bill Perdue says

    It would be nice if Obama’s version of ‘diversity’ in nominees to the Supreme Court didn’t include same sex marriage opponents, aka bigots, like Kagan and Sotomayor and if his nominees to the federal court didn’t include so many anti-union, pro business frauds.

    “Equally remarkable was the fact Republicans not only did not block the confirmation of Paul Oetken, but they actually voted for him. GOP supporters included some of the Senate’s staunchest social conservatives: Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, John Cornyn of Texas, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Jon Kyl of Arizona.

    The final vote for Oetken was 80-13.

    “The nominee’s sexual orientation was deemed unimportant—or at least less important than his moderate politics and his pro-business record (he’s a corporate lawyer, with Cablevision),” wrote Dana Milbank for the Washington Post.” WaPo

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