Senate confirms openly gay judicial nominee to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

By : Jeremy Williams
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The U.S. Senate confirmed in a 53-40 vote the nomination of openly gay federal prosecutor Patrick Bumatay to a seat on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Bumatay, who is both openly gay and Filipino, will now become the highest-ranking out federal judge and the highest-ranking judge of Filipino descent in the country.

The Trump appointee was approved down party lines Dec. 10 with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats voting against. Bumatay is the 49th circuit appointee by the Trump administration to be confirmed by the Senate.

Trump nominated the southern California federal prosecutor to the Ninth Circuit against the recommendations of California’s two sitting Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.

The only other openly gay federal appeals judge is U.S. Circuit Judge Todd Hughes of the Federal Circuit, whom the Senate confirmed in 2013 after he was nominated by President Obama, according to the Washington Blade, but the Federal Circuit isn’t considered as prestigious or high-ranking as the Ninth Circuit. It’s the second openly gay person Trump has confirmed to the federal bench. The first one was Mary Rowland, who was approved in August and is now a federal judge in Illinois.

In Bumatay’s bio listed on the official White House website, it states “Bumatay is an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, where he is a member of the Appellate and Narcotics Sections. He previously served as Counselor to the Attorney General on various criminal issues, including the national opioid strategy and transnational organized crime. Bumatay has also served in other positions in the Department of Justice, including the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the Office of the Associate Attorney General, where he was responsible for overseeing various aspects of the Department’s civil enforcement programs, and the Office of Legal Policy.”

Bumatay earned his B.A., cum laude, from Yale University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a member of the National Filipino American Lawyers Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association and the Federal Bar Association. Bumatay is married and raising twin daughters with his husband.

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