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BREAKING NEWS: Senate confirms first gay federal judge for District Court in California

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate voted 91-6 today confirmed attorney Michael W. Fitzgerald to the federal District Court in Los Angeles. Fitzgerald makes history as the first openly gay federal judge in California.

Three Senators did not cast votes.

Fitzgerald becomes the fourth openly gay person confirmed to the federal bench in the United States, and the third openly gay judicial nominee made by President Barack Obama.

Republicans in the Senate have held up Fitzgerald’s confirmation, along with dozens of other nominations, for the past 133 days. The Senate is voting today on 17 of those judicial nominations. Obama nominated Fitzgerald on July 20, 2011.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) spoke in favor of Fitzgerald’s confirmation, noting that this judicial seat in Los Angeles “has been designated as a judicial emergency.” Boxer called Fitzgerald “highly qualified” and cited his top ranking with national lawyers associations. She originally recommended Fitzgerald’s nomination to Obama.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) also praised Fitzgerald and urged fellow Senators to confirm him.

Fitzgerald is a 1981 graduate of Harvard and a 1985 graduate of the University of California Berkeley Law School. He clerked for Appeals Court Judge Irving Kaufman and has served as an Assistant District Attorney in Los Angeles.

Personally, Fitzgerald was a volunteer for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign and fought against California’s Proposition 8.