For the first time in 20 years, President Obama nominated a Black lesbian judge to the United States District Court.
According to reports, the Commander in Chief named Staci Michelle Yandle, a private practice judge, as his choice for the Southern District seat of his home state of Illinois. If confirmed, she will serve as the first African-American judge ever on that court, and the first openly-gay judge in the 7th Circuit, which includes Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
“I am pleased to nominate these distinguished individuals to serve on the United States District Court bench,” the POTUS said. “I am confident they will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”
Obama currently holds the record for nominating more African-American judges and LGBT judges than any previous president. The last time a president nominated an out, African-American lesbian to the federal judiciary was in 1994. President Bill Clinton named Deborah Batts, who served in the Southern District of New York until 2012. She currently holds senior status.
Michael Cole-Schwartz, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, praised Mr. Obama for his choice. “The nomination of Staci Michelle Yandle is further evidence that the administration is committed to building a judiciary that reflects the diversity of our country,” the LGBT advocate said. “She is a highly qualified nominee who will serve with distinction.”
Denis Dison, spokesperson for the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, added: “Our government, including the judiciary, works best when it benefits from the perspectives and experiences of all Americans, so we applaud the president’s effort to increase diversity on the federal bench…Staci Yandle’s nomination is also a reminder of the enormous talent, professionalism and diversity that exists within the American LGBT community, and we congratulate her on this achievement.”
Obama also nominated judges Steven Bough, Franklin Boulware II and Salvador Mendoza, Jr., who will become the first Hispanic judge if appointed.
All of the nominees will need confirmation from the Senate before officially seated on the bench.
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