U.S. NewsUS HistoryWomen's History Month


US Senate confirms Rhode Island's first Black and openly LGBTQ+ judge

Melissa DuBose is the 10th openly LGBTQ+ judge appointed by the Biden administration and 100th Black woman confirmed to a federal bench by the Senate.
Melissa DuBose
Posted at 5:38 PM, Mar 13, 2024

Tuesday marked a historic moment in women's history in the U.S. Senate, as they confirmed the 100th Black woman to the federal bench, securing a lifetime judicial appointment.

The chamber confirmed Melissa R. DuBose as Rhode Island's first woman of color and first openly LGBTQ+ judge on the U.S. District Court in the state.

According to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, DuBose is the 10th openly LGBTQ+ judge appointed by the Biden administration.

Late Tuesday, the Senate voted 51-47 in favor of approving President Joe Biden’s nomination of DuBose, as recommended by U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse.

“We commend President Biden for nominating Judge DuBose to this seat on the U.S District Court for the District of Rhode Island.  Judge DuBose is a champion for justice who will strengthen the federal bench.  She is highly regarded throughout the Rhode Island legal community and will make an outstanding federal judge.  Her broad experience as a public school teacher, prosecutor, in-house counsel, and state court judge has well prepared her for this new assignment.  Judge DuBose has demonstrated the highest levels of integrity, professionalism, and skill.  We are confident in her ability to serve justice, and her fellow Rhode Islanders.  We look forward to her confirmation proceeding in a timely fashion,” said Reed and Whitehouse in a press release earlier this year.

The 55-year-old was formerly an associate judge on the Rhode Island District Court in Providence; she also served as a prosecutor for the state attorney general’s office; and she spent nearly a decade as a high school teacher.