WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Tuesday evening confirmed Robert Pitman to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
Pitman becomes the first openly gay judge to sit on the federal bench in Texas, and also assumes a seat that had been vacant for more than six years.
Pitman previously made history in 2011 when he became the first openly gay U.S. attorney in Texas. A a former magistrate judge in Austin, Pitman led the San Antonio-based federal prosecuting office since 2011.
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He had also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the same district from 1990 to 2003, including a stint as the interim U.S. Attorney in 2001.
“We celebrate the confirmation of Judge Pitman, which brings welcome diversity to the federal bench in Texas,” said Lambda Legal Fair Courts Project Manager Eric Lesh, in a statement.
“For the judicial system in the United States to be truly fair, it must reflect the tremendous diversity of the country,” said Lesh. “President Obama has made great strides in promoting and ensuring that diversity with his nominations of people of color and of openly gay and lesbian individuals to the federal bench.”
According to the White House, 10 of Obama’s previously confirmed federal judges have been openly gay or lesbian compared to only one prior to 2009, confirmed by President Bill Clinton.