Todd M. Hughes Confirmed; A Milestone For Federal Appellate Bench
Todd M. Hughes, Deputy Director of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division at the United States Department of Justice, was confirmed by the United States Senate Tuesday, September 21, 2013, by a 98 – 0 vote, to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the stop before the Supreme Court for a significant number of current and former members of the nation’s highest court. When he takes the oath of office, Hughes will become the first openly LGBT member of the federal appellate bench.
President Barack Obama’s February 7, 2013 nomination of Hughes was accompanied by this statement from the White House Press Office:
“Todd M. Hughes is Deputy Director of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division at the United States Department of Justice, a position he has held since 2007. He also has served as an adjunct lecturer in law with the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and as an instructor for Duke University’s writing program.
“Hughes received his A.B. from Harvard College in 1989 and completed a joint degree program with Duke University, earning both his J.D. with honors and his M.A. in English in 1992. After graduating from law school, Hughes clerked for the Honorable Robert B. Krupansky of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1994, he joined the Commercial Litigation Branch as a trial attorney. Five years later, he was appointed to be Assistant Director for Commercial Litigation, a role he held until assuming the title of Deputy Director in 2007. Throughout his career with the Department of Justice, Hughes’s practice has been devoted to matters of federal personnel law, veterans’ benefits, international trade, government contracts, and jurisdictional issues regarding the United States Court of Federal Claims. He has extensive experience before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the United States Court of International Trade, and the United States Court of Federal Claims, and he has garnered a number of special commendations from the Department of Justice and a special contribution award from the Department of Veterans Affairs.” White House Press Office.
Juliet Eilperin’s September 24th Washington Post Blog includes insightful reaction to Hughes’ confirmation and observes that “Seven openly gay judges have already been confirmed to serve on district courts, which rank one level below the circuit courts. The first, Deborah Batts in the Southern District of New York, took senior status in April 2012, and the remaining six were all appointed by President Obama.” The Washington Post