Fordham Law


Paul Oetken Confirmed To Federal Bench

J. Paul Oetken in NY Daily News, July 19, 2011

Media Source

BY Celeste Katz

The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed a New York City lawyer to become the first openly gay man on the federal bench.

James Paul Oetken - a Greenwich Village resident and adjunct law professor at Fordham University - was approved for the prestigious post by an 80-to-13 margin, our Mike Jaccarino reports.

As I blogged at the time, President Obama had nominated Oetken, 46, in January.

"His confirmation moves us one step closer toward equality," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Oetken will now work as a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York - one of the most influential and active federal courts in the nation.

"It's pretty cool," said Jim Oetken, 73, the newly named judge's father. "We couldn't be more happy or proud of Paul."

"He came out to us when he was 18," said his proud papa. "Paul has always been a very honest man. He talked to me before he talked to his mom. He kind of just said, 'I think I'm gay,' and I said, 'Okay, anything else?'"

The Yale Law School grad, born and raised in the Midwest, used to serve as Cablevision's associate general counsel.

Oetken will be the second openly gay judge on the federal bench, after Deborah Batts, nominated by President Clinton to the same court.