WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump announced an “18th wave” of judicial appointments last week, among them Patrick J. Bumatay, a federal prosecutor who is the second openly gay person Trump has nominated to become a federal judge, according to the Washington Blade.
Bumatay is nominated to sit on the powerful 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Patrick would make an excellent addition to the court,” Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, told the Blade. “The historic nature of his nomination as an openly gay man adds an additional layer of prestige to what by all counts is an exceptional career in law”
Here is what you need to know about Bumatay:
Who is Bumatay?
Bumatay is an assistant United States attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California and has been part of an effort to tackle organized crime and the opioid epidemic, according to the White House.
Prior to joining the Justice Department, Bumatay clerked for Judge Timothy Tymkovich, a George W. Bush appointee to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Bumatay earned his bachelor’s at Yale University and his law degree at Harvard University, according to the White House. He is a member of the National Filipino American Lawyers Association (NFALA), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association and the Federal Bar Association.
How Democrats felt about his nomination
Bumatay’s nomination angered California’s Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, who did not include Bumatay’s name among those they recommended for the vacancies on the 9th Circuit. Both Feinstein and Harris sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“I repeatedly told the White House I wanted to reach an agreement on a package of 9th Circuit nominees,” Feinstein said in a statement last week. She said “the White House moved forward without consulting me” and picked “controversial candidates, and “another individual with no judicial experience who had not previously been suggested.”
Bumatay, who has taken on the opioid crisis and organized crime as a prosecutor but has not served as a judge, would appear to be the latter individual Feinstein refers to.
“The decision to move forward with these nominees without consultation or responding to my acceptance of the White House offer reflects President Trump’s desire to remake the court,” Feinstein said.
“The Trump Administration is trying to pack the courts for years to come,” Harris said in a tweet. “We will fight this.”
Why the 9th Circuit matters
The liberal-leaning court, based in San Francisco, has ruled against Trump on issues such as the travel ban, banning transgender troops from service and pulling federal funds for “sanctuary cities.”
Trump has repeatedly assailed the court for its rulings against his executive actions.
In January, the president said it shows “how broken and unfair our Court System is when the opposing side in a case (such as DACA) always runs to the 9th Circuit and almost always wins before being reversed by higher courts.”
Other LGBT judicial nominees
Trump’s first LGBT nominee was Mary Rowland, a federal magistrate judge in Illinois who is awaiting Senate confirmation for a seat as a district judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Both of Illinois’ Democratic senators, Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, have enthusiastically supported Rowland since her nomination was announced in June.
Many other Trump nominees have been criticized by gay-rights organizations such as Lambda Legal for their positions on LGBT issues.
Todd Hughes, nominated by former President Barack Obama, became the first openly gay federal appeals judge in 2013. Obama had a total of 11 openly gay nominees, the Blade reported, but most languished in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Deborah Batts became the first openly gay federal judge in 1994. She was former President Bill Clinton’s only LGBT judicial nominee.
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