US President Barack Obama has nominated the first Asian-American lesbian to serve on the federal bench.
Pamela Ki Mai Chen, a seasoned civil rights prosecutor based in Brooklyn, New York, will unlikely be confirmed by the Senate until after the presidential election, the NY Daily News reports.
In a White House statement, Obama said: ‘I am proud to nominate this outstanding candidate to serve on the United States District Court bench.
‘Pamela Chen has a long and distinguished record of service, and I am confident she will serve on the federal bench with distinction.’
The Senate must confirm Chen before the end of this year or else her nomination will expire, which gives the chamber a limited amount of time to take action.
Chen is the second Chinese-American woman nominated to a federal judgeship and the fifth openly gay attorney nominated to the federal bench by Obama.
This makes Obama, who became the first sitting president to support gay marriage, to nominate the most openly LGBT people to the federal bench in US history.
Chen was recommended for the post by Senator Chuck Schumer, who called her a ‘fantastic’ nominee.
He said she ‘possesses the legal excellence, intellect and temperament to be a first-rate judge.’
Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, said: ‘Obama has shattered all records in terms of diversity, both as to ethnic diversity and LGBT diversity.’
A first-generation American, Chen’s parents came to the United States as immigrants from China and met in the United States at the University of Chicago during World War II.