Lesbian Latina JudgeThe U.S. Senate confirmed two magistrates to federal judgeships on June 13th. Nitza Quiñones Alejandro and Jeffrey Schmehl will sit on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. It is a historic achievement on several levels. Alejandro will be one of only 15 Latina judges on a district bench and she is the first openly-lesbian federal magistrate.

Quiñones and Schmehl were approved for the positions with a voice vote, a measure used in Congress to avoid an extensive voting process. A consensus of “yays” confirmed the judges for the federal bench.

Michael Cole-Schwartz, communications director for the Human Rights Campaign, a LGBT-rights group, applauded Congress for confirming Quiñones.

“We are very pleased to see yet another highly qualified, openly LGBT nominee confirmed to the federal bench – particularly a woman of color who helps reflect the diversity of the American people in the judiciary,” he said.

President Obama was also pleased with the confirmation. He nominated Quiñones to the federal judgeship in November and nominated her again in January. He sent her a congratulations during the White House’s LGBT Pride Month Reception.

“I want to congratulate Nitza Quiñones Alejandro, who just a few hours ago was confirmed by the Senate, making her the first openly gay Hispanic federal judge in our country’s history,” Obama said. “Good news.”

Quiñones’ ascent to the federal bench has been marred with historic firsts. The 62-year-old Puerto Rican native entered the scrolls of history in 1991 when she became the first Latina to serve on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.

She has been committed to public service since graduating with a law degree from the University of Puerto Rico in 1975. Quiñones worked as a staff attorney for Community Legal Services, Inc. in Philadelphia until 1977, before moving to the United States Department of Health and Human Services until 1979. The judge also worked with the United States Department of Veteran Affairs before her appointment to the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.

Quiñones has often presided over complex civil litigations, but she will expand her duties in her new position.

Clutch offers sincerest congratulations to Judge Nitza Quiñones Alejandro on her historic achievement.

Tags: , , ,
Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter