March 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Lesbian judicial nominee confirmed to fed’l court in Michigan
United States Capitol Building, dome, gay news, Washington Blade

The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Judith Levy to the federal bench by a 97-0 vote. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The U.S. Senate added to the increasing number of openly LGBT people on the federal judiciary Wednesday by confirming an out lesbian by a unanimous vote.

The Senate voted to approve Judith Levy, whom President Obama nominated in July for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, by a vote of 97-0 along with other judicial nominees.

D’Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of the LGBT Bar Association, commended the Senate for confirming Levy and for increasing LGBT representation on the federal judiciary.

“Judith Levy will make an incredible addition to Michigan’s judiciary,” Kemnitz said. “LGBT representation in our courts is critical and speaks to the tremendous advocacy and support our community has received.”

Levy, who was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, has been an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan since 2000 and chief of the civil rights unit for that office over the past three years. The American Bar Association gave her a rating of “unanimously qualified.”

According to her questionnaire, Levy has been a member of the Human Rights Campaign from 2001 to present and is board member for DOJ Pride, the affinity group for LGBT employees at the Justice Department. She’ll become the first openly LGBT person to serve on federal court in Michigan.

Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, commended the Senate for confirming Levy and said her record will make her an excellent contribution to the federal judiciary.

“The President welcomes the confirmation of Judith Levy,” Inouye said. “She will serve the American people well from the Eastern District of Michigan bench.”

But the Levy confirmation wasn’t the only news on Wednesday related to LGBT judicial nominees. Earlier in the day, Staci Michelle Yandle, nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Illinois, sailed through her confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee without opposition from panel members.

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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