The U.S. Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed Todd Hughes to
serve as a judge on the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.
With the 98-0 vote, Hughes became the nation's first openly gay
federal appellate judge.
The United States Courts of Appeals are the second-highest courts
in the nation – a level just below the Supreme Court.
President Barack Obama nominated Hughes for the post in February.
Since 2007, Hughes, 46, has served as the Deputy Director of the
Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division at the United
States Department of Justice. In 1999, he was appointed to be
Assistant Director for Commercial Litigation, a role he held until
assuming the title of deputy director.
“I am proud that today the Senate is finally taking this
critical step to break down another barrier and increase diversity on
our Federal bench,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick
Leahy said in a statement released after Hughes' confirmation.
Writing at the White
House blog, Kathy Ruemmler, a legal adviser to the president,
said that Hughes, like all of the president's judicial nominees, “has
the intellect, experience, integrity and temperament to be a
successful judge. He is also gay.”