Judge Mary Rowland: First LGBTQ judge under Trump
While the one constant thing about most of President Donald Trump’s nominees is that they have anti-LGBTQ records, it’s a pleasant surprise that an LGBTQ magistrate, Judge Mary Rowland, has been chosen by this administration.
Rowland, an out lesbian and a member of the Gay and Lesbian Bar Association, is the first federal judicial nominee from the LGBTQ community selected by President Trump since he first took office 18 months ago.
Who is Judge Mary Rowland?
Rowland is curently the US Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. If she’s confirmed, she’ll serve as the US District Court judge for the same district.
Born on 8 October 1961, Rowland hails from Akron, Ohio. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan in 1984 as well as graduating from the University of Chicago Law School in 1988.
Before she took up law, she worked as a field coordinator for the Senate campaign of Democrat Senator Carl Levin of Michigan for seven months. She also volunteered for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.
She clerked for Judge Julian Cook on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, then joining the Federal Defender’s Office in Chicago as its Chief Appellate Attorney in 1995.
Before she became a judge, she largely focused on criminal defense and civil rights work.
Aside from doing pro bono work for Lambda Legal, she also represented a group of 3,000 African-Americans who were denied jobs as entry-level firefighters in a suit against the City of Chicago, .
She was appointed the Magistrate Judge position in 2012. She was recommended during the Obama administration in 2009 for the federal judgeship, but was passed over.
Spotlight on Judge Mary Rowland
The seat opened with the elevation of Judge Amy St. Eve last 25 May 2018 to the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Rowland applied directly to the screening committee set up by Democrat Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.
After being interviewed by Sen. Durbin last February, she was interviewed at the White House last April. In June, she was officially nominated.
Durbin said of Rowland’s nomination that they were thankful for “the Administration’s willingness to work with us and with our nonpartisan screening committee to reach consensus.”
Annise Parker, CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, said, “Mary Rowland is well-respected by the LGBTQ community in Illinois and we are pleased that someone with her experience and integrity was nominated.”
Currently, Rowland enjoys enjoyed bipartisan support during her confirmation hearing at the Senate, which is going through Trump’s 140 judicial picks.
Rowland is married to her longtime spouse, Julie Justicz, and they have two children.