Metro Weekly

Trump taps openly gay attorney for seat on 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Patrick Bumatay is second openly LGBTQ person nominated to federal bench by President Trump

Patrick Bumatay – Photo: LinkedIn.

For only the second time, President Trump has tapped an openly LGBTQ person to become a judge on a federal appeals court.

The White House released a list of its most recent appointees last Wednesday, including U.S. Attorney Patrick Bumatay, who was nominated for a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Bumatay, an openly gay man who serves as a member of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Tax Forces Section for the Southern District of California, now awaits confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

If confirmed, he’d be the nation’s second LGBTQ federal appeals court judge (after Todd Hughes, an Obama appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit) and the first on the liberal-leaning 9th Circuit.

Trump previously nominated one other LGBTQ person, Mary Rowland, for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

According to the National Review, Bumatay previously clerked for Judge Timothy Tymkovich of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Judge Sandra Townes of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

He reportedly worked on the confirmations of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, as well as Bush Administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

Bumatay is an active member of The Federalist Society, which espouses a strict, literal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and various federal and state laws.

He is also a member of the Federal Bar Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the National Asian Pacific Islander Prosecutors Association, and the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association.

It’s his membership in that last organization — which describes itself as dedicated to the “advancement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues throughout California and the nation” — that has some social conservatives upset.

The conservative outlet LifeSite News fretted over Bumatay’s nomination and whether he would be able to separate his sexual orientation from any rulings he might issue.

“The Homann Association has staked out a number of left-wing positions, including disappointment that the Supreme Court upheld Christian baker Jack Phillips’ right to refuse to make a cake for a same-sex ‘wedding,’ and ‘unequivocally denounc[ing]’ the Trump administration’s ban on transgender military service,” wrote Lifesite‘s Calvin Freiburger.

But the gay conservative group Log Cabin Republicans praised Trump’s selection of Bumatay.

“As someone who has personally known Pat for the better part of a decade, I can tell you I will have great personal satisfaction to see him seated on the bench on the 9th Circuit,” Log Cabin President Gregory T. Angelo told NBC News. “Patrick is highly qualified, and the fact that he is openly gay only adds to the historic nature of his nomination.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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