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President Obama nominates gay L.A. lawyer to U.S. District Court

July 20, 2011 |  3:08 pm

Getprev1 President Obama announced Wednesday that he is nominating Los Angeles attorney Michael Walter Fitzgerald to serve as a judge on the federal court for the Central District of California.

Fitzgerald, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the seven-county Central District that includes Los Angeles, would be the first openly gay judge on the U.S. District Court for the region and the only one in the state after the recent resignation of Judge Vaughn Walker from the San Francisco-based Northern District.

Fitzgerald, 51, "will serve the people of California with distinction on the District Court bench," Obama said in the statement announcing his choice for one of the busiest courts in the nation.

A congressional source familiar with the vetting process that forwarded Fitzgerald as a potential nominee said he didn't expect to see much resistance at Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings to the president's choice on the basis of Fitzgerald's sexual orientation because he has broad experience as a prosecutor and "stands on his own merits."

Fitzgerald is a graduate of Harvard University and UC Berkeley's Boalt School of Law. He has been in private practice with the downtown law firm Corbin Fitzgerald & Athey in recent years.

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-- Carol J. Williams

Photo: President Obama. Credit: Joshua Roberts / European Pressphoto Agency

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