This morning, the Senate confirmed three federal judges. On the one hand, they are not unique; like all of the President’s judges and judicial nominees, they have the necessary intellect, experience, integrity, and temperament. But they are special in that each of them is a trailblazer on their courts:
Judge Darrin Gayles, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, is the first openly gay African American man to be confirmed as a lifetime-appointed federal judge in our nation’s history.
Judge Salvador Mendoza, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, is the first Hispanic judge to serve on his court.
Staci Yandle, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, is the first African American to serve on her court and the first openly gay lifetime-appointed federal judge in Illinois.
Today’s confirmations also set historic milestones:
For the first time in history, the Senate has confirmed two openly gay judges on the same day.
President Obama has now appointed more female judges than any other President, breaking the record previously set by President Clinton.
President Obama also has now appointed more Hispanic judges than any other President, breaking the record previously held by President George W. Bush.
As we’ve said before, these “firsts” — and these milestones — are important, not because these judges will consider cases differently, but because a judiciary that better resembles our nation instills even greater confidence in our justice system, and because these judges will serve as role models for generations of lawyers to come.
Congratulations to our newest federal judges, who we are confident will serve with honor, distinction, and fidelity to the rule of law.
For more information about other “firsts” appointed by President Obama and other milestones, please see this full-size infographic.