Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Congratulations to J. Paul Oetken, the first openly gay man to be a federal judge:
Mr. Oetken won Senate confirmation by a vote of 80 to 13. He will take his seat as a federal judge in Manhattan after President Obama signs his commission, which may be as soon as this week, according to the office of Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York.
“When there are so many qualified gay and lesbian people and none of them get on the bench, you scratch your head and wonder why,” said Mr. Schumer, who recommended the appointment last year to Mr. Obama. “But the old barriers that existed in society are crumbling. That’s what this will say.”
Mr. Oetken, 45, a graduate of Yale Law School, was a law clerk to Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the Supreme Court before working for the Justice Department and then as associate counsel to President Bill Clinton.
He is now a senior vice president and associate general counsel at Cablevision.
Deborah A. Batts, a lesbian, has been a federal judge in Manhattan since 1994.