President Barack Obama nominated openly gay Justice Department attorney Todd Hughes to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday, a move that drew praise from LGBT groups. Hughes would be the first openly gay judge to sit on the federal appeals court bench if confirmed by the Senate.
Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute, issued a statement applauding Obama for the nomination.
"If confirmed, Todd Hughes would become the first openly gay federal appeals court judge in U.S. history. His nomination is a testament to the expanding opportunities for openly LGBT Americans who want to serve their country, and to the president's respect for the depth of talent and experience within the LGBT community. We look forward to his confirmation by the U.S. Senate," Wolfe said.
It's not the first time the president has nominated an openly gay man to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. In April 2010, Obama nominated Deward DuMont. After waiting more than 18 months for a confirmation hearing, however, he withdrew his nomination.
Obama also nominated Raymond Chen, a lawyer in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, for the Court of Appeals, on Thursday.
Obama has been open with his support of equal rights for the LGBT community, including same-sex marriage. His inaugural address made history, including gay rights for the first time. In 2010, it was reported that Obama had appointed more openly gay officials than any other president.