First openly lesbian Asian-American takes seat on federal bench

Pamela Chen

Pamela Chen

Washington Blade

The U.S. Senate on Monday made history with little difficulty when it confirmed the first openly gay Asian-American for a seat on the federal bench. By a voice vote on Monday evening, the Senate confirmed Pamela Ki Mai Chen, a lesbian, for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. President Obama first nominated her a judgeship in August and renamed her along with others at the start of the 113th Congress.

Chen’s confirmation means four additional openly gay judicial nominations remain pending before the Senate. Two of these nominations — Michael McShane, nominated as U.S. District Judge for the District of Oregon; and Nitza Quinones Alejandro, nominated as U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania — face a committee vote during an upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Thursday.

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