WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed the first ever openly gay Hispanic woman to serve on the federal bench.
Nitza Quiñones Alejandro was confirmed by a voice vote, and will serve on United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Quiñones will also be the first Latina judge on the Eastern District of Pennsylvania court, said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and was the first Hispanic woman to serve as a judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas when she was appointed in 1991.
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Prior to serving on the Philadelphia court, Quiñones 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.
On the Senate floor on Thursday, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said Quiñones was “a great American story,” noting that she had been born and educated in Puerto Rico.
The Eastern District of Pennsylvania comprises nine counties: Philadelphia, the four suburban counties, and Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, and Lancaster.