Obama nominates gay man for appeals court


President Barack Obama today nominated Todd M. Hughes to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. If confirmed, Hughes would become the first openly gay judge at that level.

The president alson nominated Raymond T. Chen to the appeals court.

In a statement released this afternoon, Obama said, the men “have displayed exceptional dedication to public service throughout their career. I am honored to nominate them today to serve the American people on the United States Court of Appeals. I am confident that they will be judicious and esteemed additions to the Federal Circuit.”

Hughes is deputy director of the commercial litigation branch of the civil division at the U.S. 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 graduated from Harvard and then earned his law degree at Duke University. He clerked for Robert B. Krupansky of the U.S. 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.

The White House said throughout his career with Justice, Hughes’s practice has been devoted to federal personnel law, veterans’ benefits, international trade, government contracts, and jurisdictional issues regarding the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.