Talk about making strides and taking names! Today, President Barack Obama nominated out lesbian Staci Michelle Yandle, to serve in the district court for the Southern District of Illinois, the president’s home state. Should Yandle (who is currently practicing privately) be confirmed, she will be the first openly LGBT judge in the Seventh Circuit, covering Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Earlier reports misstated that, if appointed, Yandle would be the first African-American lesbian judge. Politico reports that Yandle follows Deborah Batts, an African-American lesbian whom President Bill Clinton nominated to the Southern District of New York. In 2012, Obama nominated black openly gay male judge William Thomas to the federal bench. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) blocked his nomination from moving forward.
Continuing his commitment to diversity, this time around Obama also nominated the first Hispanic judge – Salvador Mendoza, Jr., a county Superior Court Judge in Washington State – for the Eastern District of Illinois
“I am pleased to nominate these distinguished individuals to serve on the United States District Court bench,” said President Obama of both Yandle and Mendoza. “I am confident they will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”