Senate to Vote Today on Alison Nathan's Nomination, Would Be Second Lesbian Federal Judge

Posted by Chris Geidner
October 13, 2011 5:00 AM |

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[Photo: President Barack Obama greets departing Associate Counsel to the President Alison J. "Ali" Nathan, left, Meg Satterthwaite, and their twin sons Oliver and Nathan, in the Outer Oval Office on July 7, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)]

Today, the U.S. Senate is slated to vote on the nomination of Alison Nathan for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

[UPDATE @ 12:30P: C-SPAN reports that roll call votes on judicial nominations, including Nathan, are expected beginning about 2 p.m.]

Nathan, an out lesbian, would be the second out lesbian federal judge with lifetime tenure in the country if confirmed, joining U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Batts of the Southern District of New York. Also on that court, which is located in Manhattan, is U.S. District Court Judge J. Paul Oetken. Oetken was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate for the judgeship earlier this year and currently is the only out gay male judge serving in the federal judiciary.

Per an agreement announced on Sept. 26 between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a group of four judicial nominees were to have their nominations considered for a vote as soon as Oct. 11. The first of those, Jane Triche-Milazzo, had her nomination for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana confirmed by the Senate on Oct. 11. The Senate is slated to vote on the other three nominations today following a "period of morning business" that begins at 10 a.m.

President Obama nominated Nathan, who had served as a White House associate counsel earlier in the administration, for the federal judgeship on March 31. Following a hearing on June 8, the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 14 favorably reported her nomination to the full Senate for a vote.

In addition to Nathan, the Senate is due to vote on the nomination of Katherine Forrest for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and Susan Hickey for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.

Michael Fitzgerald, another of Obama's out LGBT judicial nominees, has been nominated to serve in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The judiciary committee held a hearing on his nomination on Oct. 4, but it has not yet acted to report the nomination to the full Senate. The final out LGBT judicial nominee, Edward DuMont, was nominated in April 2010 for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and has been waiting longer than any of Obama's judicial nominees -- LGBT or not -- for a hearing.


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