The US Senate Approves First Openly Gay Latina, Nitza Quiñones Alejandro For Federal Judgeship


On Thursday the US Senate approved Puerto Rican judge Nitza Quiñones Alejandro for a federal judgeship. She is the first openly gay Latina judge sitting on the bench.

Alejandro was endorsed by the Hispanic National Bar association and nominated by President Obama—as Amanda Schiavo eports in this article for Latin Times.

The United States Senate voted today to confirm the Honorable Nitza Quiñones Alejandro to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Judge Quiñones received the endorsement of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) after a thorough vetting process.  She received the joint recommendation from U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), followed by the nomination by President Barack Obama and the unanimous approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee in March. Judge Quiñones will be the first Latina to serve on this court.

During her 20-plus-years on the bench Nitza Quiñones Alejandro fought hard and made major changes in order to benefit the LGBT community.

Her approval to the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas in 1991 made her the first Hispanic woman elected as a judge in that jurisdiction.

The HNBA commends the U.S. Senate for fulfilling its duty in confirming Judge Nitza Quiñones Alejandro,” said Peter M. Reyes, Jr., HNBA National President. “She is an exceptional jurist who has served with distinction for over twenty years on the bench and will be an outstanding addition to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. We are encouraged that the Senate moved forward in a bipartisan manner, and call upon them to continue to do so to fill all the remaining judicial vacancies across the country, including those where judicial emergencies remain.

Of the 33 candidates nominated for the two seats on the federal bench Nitza Quiñones Alejandro and Jeffrey Schmehl were approved by the Senate.

Fox News Latino reports that last year during a hearing Quiñones said the most important quality for a judge to possess is integrity.

“In exercising integrity, the judge must also be a good listener, patient, fair, impartial, courteous, reasonable, ethical, and decisive,” she said. “I believe I possess these qualities.”

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Nitza Quiñones Alejandro received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico in 1972. In 1975 Nitza Quiñones Alejandro revived her law degree from the University of Puerto Rico law school and went to work for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1977 to 1979 and staff attorney for the Department of Veterans Affairs from 1979 to 1991, Fox News reports.

For the original report go to

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