May 21, 2013 at 5:53 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
Gay judicial nominee confirmed to Oregon federal court
Michael McShane, United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Washington Blade, gay news

The U.S. Senate confirmed Michael McShane to the federal bench by voice vote. (Photo courtesy of the United States Senate)

The Senate confirmed a gay Oregon judge to the federal bench on Monday after nearly an eight-month wait from when he was first nominated by President Obama.

By voice vote, U.S. senators confirmed the nomination of Michael McShane for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon — making him the sixth openly gay person to serve on the federal bench.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who recommended the nomination, praised the Senate in a statement for sending McShane to the federal bench.

“Over the years Oregon has been blessed with a long line of distinguished judges,” Wyden said. “Judge McShane will be a tremendous asset to the court and he will certainly add to that tradition. He’s got a heart for people, a head for the law and a high-minded sense of justice.”

Previously, McShane served as a judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court. Now that the Senate has confirmed him to the federal judiciary, McShane will serve as a replacement for U.S. District Court Judge Michael Hogan.

Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, also commended the Senate for confirming McShane, whom Obama first named in September before renominating him at the start of the 113th Congress.

“The president welcomes the confirmation of Michael McShane,” Inouye said. “He will serve the American people well from the District of Oregon bench.

McShane’s confirmation makes him fifth openly gay nominee during the Obama administration to obtain confirmation by the Senate.

Other openly gay judicial nominations that are outstanding are Nitza Quinones Alejandro, who was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Todd Hughes, who was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; Elaine Kaplan, who was nominated to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims; and William Thomas, who was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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