Michael Fitzgerald, an out gay California lawyer, received overwhelming approval today from the U.S. Senate, with a 91-6 vote, for his nomination to serve as a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California – making him the fourth out LGBT federal, lifetime-tenured judge in the nation.
The vote, which began a little after 2:24 p.m. today, came after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday, March 12, announced that he would be forcing debate and votes on 17 of Obama’s judicial nominees if no deal was reached. On Wednesday, March 14, an agreement was reached between the parties’ leaders to have the Senate vote in the coming weeks on 14 of President Obama’s judicial nominees — including Fitzgerald.
No one spoke in opposition to the nomination.
Senators voting “no” were Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and David Vitter (R-La.).
Fitzgerald, who was nominated by President Obama on July 20, 2011 for the judgeship, had a hearing in October 2011 and was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee to the full Senate without opposition on Nov. 3, 2011.