For the first time in history, an African American and openly gay judge has been nominated to the U.S. District Court of Illinois. Judge Staci Michelle Yandle was nominated last week by President Obama, who has nominated more African American and more gay judges than any other president in American history. Yandle is a 20-year private practice judge who could represent the southern district of Illinois. This will also be the district’s first black judge.
Judge Yandle is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Vanderbilt University School of Law. At the start of her judicial career, she worked as an associate with the law firm of Carr, Korein, Schlichter, Kunin, Montroy, Glass & Bogard. That was followed by her work as a partner with The Rex Carr Law Firm, LLC before she began her own practice that led to her most recent nomination through President Obama.
She served on the Illinois Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in the early to mid 90’s. Then from 1999 to 2001, Yandle served on the Illinois Gaming Board and on the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice. If accepted, Yandle will be the second openly lesbian black federal judge in the country. Deborah Batts, who was the first, was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994.
Judge Yandle would take over for Judge John Phil Gilbert, who will go to senior status on March 15th.