J. Paul Oetken Hub




Senate Confirms J. Paul Oetken, First Openly Gay Man to Serve on Federal Bench

The Senate voted 80-13 late this afternoon to confirm attorney J. Paul Oetken, a former Clinton administration lawyer recommended to Obama by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), as a U.S. District judge for the Southern District of New York.

Said Schumer on the Senate floor

“As the first openly gay man to be confirmed as a federal judge and to serve on the federal bench, he will be a symbol of how much we have achieved as a country in just the last few decades. And importantly, he will give hope to many talented young lawyers who, until now, thought their paths might be limited because of their sexual orientation. When Paul becomes Judge Oetken, he will be living proof to all those young lawyers that it really does get better.”

OetkenOetken is the first openly gay man to be confirmed to the federal judiciary.

Oetken, senior vice president and associate general counsel of Cablevision, was also a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun and worked in the Justice Department.

MetroWeekly notes, of the vote: "Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) were the only no votes."

Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade writes:

Oetken is first openly gay male to be confirmed to the federal bench, but not the first openly LGBT person. U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts, an out lesbian who currently sits on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, is considered the first openly LGBT person to sit on a federal court. She was appointed during the Clinton Administration.


Senate to Vote on Gay Nominee for Federal Bench on Monday

The U.S. Senate will vote on Monday on the nomination of J. Paul Oetken, an attorney who would be the first openly gay man to serve on the federal bench, the Washington Blade reports:

Oetken A Senate Democratic aide said the vote on J. Paul Oetken’s nomination would take place on Monday at 5:30 pm. President Obama nominated Oetken in January for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The aide said unanimous consent was reached in the Senate to vote on the Oetken nomination, so Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) won’t need to file cloture and find 60 votes to proceed. For confirmation, a simple majority of senators must approve Oetken by a up-or-down vote.

Oetken was nominated by Obama in January. In April, his nomination was advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Another one of Obama's gay nominees, Edward C. DuMont, has not yet received a confirmation hearing.


Senate Panel Advances Gay Judicial Nominee for Federal Bench While Second Gay Nominee Remains in Limbo

OetkenThe nomination of J. Paul Oetken, an attorney who would be the first openly gay man to serve on the federal bench was advanced by a Senate panel yesterday, the Washington Blade reports:

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced to the floor following no discussion the nomination of J. Paul Oetken, whom President Obama tapped in January to become a U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York.

Now that the panel has approved the Oetken nomination, it will head to the Senate floor, where support from 60 senators is needed for his confirmation. Senate Majority Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) office didn’t respond on a short notice to request on a comment on when the nomination would see a floor vote.

Dumont MetroWeekly notes that another of Obama's gay judicial nominees, Edward C. DuMont, has not seen movement:

Today, asked why the DuMont nomination had not progressed, [Judiciary Committee spokesman Erica] Chabot said, "We are working with the committee Republicans to review the paperwork" so that both sides are comfortable scheduling a hearing.

She explained, "We try to work with committee Republicans" to reach agreement on scheduling nominations for hearings and committee votes, "and we are trying to do that with the DuMont nomination."

Pressed for more information about why the nomination has not moved forward, she added, "Senator Leahy and the other Democrats have been ready to move forward on the nomination since last year."

 


Obama Nominates Second Gay Man to Federal Bench

Earlier in January I reported that Obama had renominated more than 40 judicial candidates. Among them was Edward Carroll Dumont of D.C., nominated to be United States Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit. DuMont would be the first openly gay federal appellate court judge in the nation. DuMont was originally nominated last April.

Oetken Yesterday, Obama nominated a former Clinton administration lawyer recommended by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY): "The lawyer, J. Paul Oetken, 45, is a senior vice president and associate general counsel of Cablevision."

Oetken has been nominated as a federal judge in Manhattan.

The NYT:

Senator Schumer said on Thursday that Mr. Oetken fit his three criteria for federal judges: legal excellence, moderation of views and diversity.

“I am looking for people who fit the three criteria, and I was shocked to learn there were no openly gay male judges on the entire federal bench.” Mr. Oetken “fit the bill,” he added.

Mr. Oetken, a graduate of the University of Iowa and Yale Law School, was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun and worked in the Justice Department and in the White House counsel’s office.

Before joining Cablevision, Mr. Oetken was in private practice in New York.

Schumer's previous recommendation Daniel Alter was rejected in October, reportedly because of remarks he made about a case challenging inclusion of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, and additional remarks suggesting that merchants not wish shoppers "Merry Christmas" during the holidays.


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