News (USA)

Obama nominates openly lesbian Hispanic judge to federal bench

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday nominated Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro, who currently serves on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, for a federal judgeship with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Quiñones would become the first openly gay Hispanic woman to serve on the federal bench.

Nitza Quiñones Alejandro

Quiñones previously worked as a staff attorney for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from 1979 to 1991, and she served as an attorney advisor for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1977 to 1979.

She began her legal career as a staff attorney for Community Legal Services, Inc. in Philadelphia.

Quiñones received her law degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law in 1975 and her bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Puerto Rico in 1972 according to a biography provided by the White House.

In addition, Obama also nominated Luis Felipe Restrepo and Jeffrey L. Schmehl to fill vacancies on the same U.S. District Court.

“These nominees are emblematic of the President’s commitment to nominating qualified, diverse nominees to the federal bench,” said Marge Baker of People For the American Way. “They are also a sign of the president’s commitment to solving the vacancy crisis in our federal courts without delay.”

“I’m pleased that the White House has nominated these exceptionally qualified members of the legal community to the bench,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.). “I was proud to work in a bipartisan fashion with Sen. (Patrick) Toomey to nominate these individuals, and I’m hopeful that the Senate will work in a constructive manner to confirm them to the bench in the near future.”

“I’m confident that these individuals who Sen. Toomey and I have recommended and the White House has nominated will serve with the highest standards and discharge justice in a fair and impartial way,” he said.

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