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Obama names openly gay attorney to federal appeals court

CHRIS JOHNSON | Washington Blade
Friday, February 8, 2013
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WASHINGTON — President Obama on Thursday nominated for a seat on the federal judiciary a gay Justice Department attorney who, upon confirmation, would make history.

Todd Hughes, who has served since 2007 as deputy director for the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division at the Justice Department, was named for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Court. If confirmed, he’ll be the first openly gay person to a seat on a federal appellate court.

The White House announced the Hughes nomination in the same statement in which Obama also named Raymond Chen for another seat on the appeals court.

“Raymond T. Chen and Todd M. Hughes have displayed exceptional dedication to public service throughout their careers,” Obama said in a statement. ”I am honored to nominate them today to serve the American people on the United States Court of Appeals. I am confident that they will be judicious and esteemed additions to the Federal Circuit.”

Chuck Wolfe, CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, noted a glass ceiling for LGBT people would be broken if Hughes is confirmed to the seat.

“If confirmed, Todd Hughes would become the first openly gay federal appeals court judge in U.S. history,” Wolfe said. “His nomination is a testament to the expanding opportunities for openly LGBT Americans who want to serve their country, and to the president’s respect for the depth of talent and experience within the LGBT community. We look forward to his confirmation by the U.S. Senate.”

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