A Senate deal between Democratic and Republican leaders on moving forward with confirmation votes for judicial appointees has locked in a vote for an openly gay nominee Thursday.
Erica Chabot, a spokesperson for the Senate Judiciary Committee, said as a result of agreement, a vote on Michael Fitzgerald, whom President Obama nominated for a position on the federal bench in July, was “locked in” for Thursday.
Fitzgerald is expected to be the second of two votes on judges Thursday afternoon, likely around 2 pm.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had filed cloture on 17 judicial nominees Monday, starting the process for cloture votes to take place starting Wednesday. To invoke cloture, 60 “yes” votes for each of the nominees would have been necessary to move forward.
But as a result of the deal reached on Wednesday, cloture has been vitiated and simple majority votes are required for confirmation. According to Politico, the deal will allow Democratic leadership to move 12 district court judges and two circuit court judges through the confirmation process by May 7.
Fitzgerald is the fourth out federal judicial nominee chosen by the White House. Upon confirmation, Fitzgerald would take a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and would be the first openly gay federal judge in that state.
The Senate Judiciary Committee reported out his nomination in November unanimously by voice vote to the Senate floor, but his confirmation has been held up along with other nominees.