President Obama Nominates Openly Lesbian Latina Judge to Federal Court
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama nominated Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. If selected, Quiñones Alejandro would be the first openly lesbian Latina judge on the federal bench.
Quiñones Alejandro currently serves on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas and became the first Hispanic women to serve on that branch when she accepted the position in 1991. She has also worked in the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs as a lawyer and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as an attorney advisor.
There are currently six vacant seats on the federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Along with Quiñones Alejandro, President Obama nominated Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo and Judge Jeffery L. Schmehl. In a White House press release, President Obama stated "These men and women have had distinguished legal careers, and I am honored to ask them to continue their work as judges on the federal bench...They will serve the American people with integrity and an unwavering commitment to justice."
President Obama has nominated eight openly-gay judges to federal court since he took office in 2009. Three of those eight nominations have been confirmed.
Media Resources: Fox News 11/28/12; Philadelphia Inquirer 11/28/12; Human Rights Campaign 11/27/12; NBC 11/27/12; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 11/27/12
11/20/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Priests for Life Challenge to Birth Control Coverage Rule - In a victory for women's health, a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Friday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive coverage benefit brought by Priests for Life, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington and other religiously affiliated non-profit organizations.
Judge Nina Pillard, a former law professor who was nominated to the DC Circuit by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in December, wrote the opinion for the Court, which found that the ACA birth control benefit did not substantially burden or violate non-profits' religious freedom.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies must cover the full cost of all FDA-approved contraceptives - including the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception - without requiring co-pays or cost-sharing. . . .