WASHINGTON, D.C., June 17, 2014 – Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron issued the following statement in response to the confirmation of Judges Darrin Gayles, Salvador Mendoza, Jr. and Staci Michelle Yandle to United States district courts:

 We are pleased that President Obama and the Senate majority continue to broaden the bench, nominating and confirming highly-qualified judges who reflect the full diversity of the American people both in their personal backgrounds and their professional lives.

Today, Judge Darrin Gayles became the first openly gay African-American man to serve on the federal bench. In addition, Judge Staci Michelle Yandle, an openly gay African-American woman, and Judge Salvador Mendoza have dedicated their careers to fighting for the rights of individual plaintiffs and indigent criminal defendants – reflecting the kind of professional diversity we called for in our Broadening the Bench report.

These confirmations continue the encouraging trend discussed in our recent State of the Judiciary report. But in every case, the Senate majority had to overcome shameful Republican obstruction.  That obstruction continues, as can be seen in the fact that there remain 34 judgeships for which no one has been nominated – 29 of them in states with at least one Republican senator.

 Alliance for Justice is a national association of over 100 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society. Through our justice programs, we lead the progressive community in the fight for a fair judiciary, and through our advocacy programs, we help nonprofits and foundations to realize their advocacy potential.  Learn more about Alliance for Justice at afj.org.