Robert L. Pitman
Robert L. Pitman
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas|
|Assumed office |
December 19, 2014
|Appointed by||Barack Obama|
|Preceded by||William Royal Furgeson, Jr.|
|United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas|
October 3, 2011 – December 19, 2014
|Appointed by||Barack Obama|
|Preceded by||Johnny Sutton|
|Succeeded by||Richard Durbin|
|Born||December 15, 1962|
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
|Political party||Democratic Party|
|Alma mater||Abilene Christian University (BA)|
University of Texas (JD)
University of Oxford (MSt)
Robert Lee Pitman (born December 15, 1962) is an American attorney and jurist who serves as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas and former United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas. He was previously a United States Magistrate Judge of the same court.
Early life and education
Pitman was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1962, the youngest of five children. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Abilene Christian University, where he was student body president. Pitman then obtained a Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law. After completing law school, Pitman served as a law clerk for Judge David Belew Jr. of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Fort Worth. Pitman holds a Master of Studies degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford.
Following his judicial clerkship, Pitman began his career at the international law firm of Fulbright and Jaworski. In 2001, Pitman briefly served as interim United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas. As United States Attorney on September 11, 2001, he formed the first anti-terrorism task force in the district, uniting local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in their counter-terrorism efforts and in their work to better secure Texas' international border. He was replaced by George W. Bush appointee Johnny Sutton, who asked Pitman to remain in the office as his chief deputy. In October 2003, Pitman was selected to serve as a United States Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. As Magistrate Judge, Pitman consistently ranked highest among all local, state, and federal judges in the judicial poll conducted annually by the Austin Bar Association. In 2009, Republican Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison sent Pitman's name to Democratic President Barack Obama as one of two candidates for United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas. The recommendation of Pitman, who is openly gay, was publicly opposed by a social conservative group in Texas. On June 27, 2011, almost two years after Pitman was recommended for the post, Obama notified members of Congress that he would nominate Pitman to be United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas. He was formally nominated the following day. Citing his credentials and experience, and expressing a desire to fill the position with the most qualified candidate, he was supported by Texas' two United States Senators, both Republicans. With their support, the United States Senate confirmed Pitman to be the chief federal law enforcement officer in the Western District of Texas on September 26, 2011. He took office on October 3, 2011. He left office on December 19, 2014 upon receiving his judicial commission.
Federal judicial service
On June 26, 2014, President Obama nominated Pitman to serve as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, to the seat vacated by Judge William Royal Furgeson, Jr., who took senior status on November 30, 2008. He received a hearing before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary for September 9, 2014. On November 20, 2014 his nomination was reported out of committee by voice vote. On Saturday, December 13, 2014, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a motion to invoke cloture on the nomination. On December 16, 2014, Reid withdrew his cloture motion on Pitman's nomination, and the Senate proceeded to vote to confirm Pitman in a voice vote. He received his federal judicial commission on December 19, 2014.
Pitman is a sixth-generation Texan and lives in Austin. He is an avid outdoorsman and horseman. Pitman was the first openly gay United States Attorney in Texas. He was one of four openly LGBT U.S. Attorneys, alongside Jenny Durkan of the Western District of Washington, Laura Duffy of the Southern District of California and Anne Tompkins of the Western District of North Carolina. Upon receiving his judicial commission, Pitman became the first openly gay judge to sit on the federal bench within the Fifth Circuit of the federal court system, which covers Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
- Knight, Samuel (September 13, 2011). "Meet Robert Pitman". Main Justice. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- "The law west of the Pecos".
- Kreytak, Steven (December 1, 2003). "Behind the bench, a man to be counted on: New judge won praise for fairness, kindness in 13 years as U.S. prosecutor". Austin American-Statesman. Archived from the original on March 3, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- "President Obama Nominates Four to Serve on the United States District Courts". whitehouse.gov. 26 June 2014 – via National Archives.
- "Pitman, Robert Lee – Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
- Kreytak, Steven (February 20, 2009). "Pitman most "excellent" among Austin judges, poll says". Austin American-Statesman.[permanent dead link]
- Ramonas, Andrew (November 2, 2009). "Texas GOP Senators Advanced Gay U.S. Attorney Candidate". Main Justice. Archived from the original on September 5, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- Gilman, Todd J. (November 1, 2009). "Hutchison irks right by including gay judge as U.S. attorney pick". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
- Martin, Gary (June 27, 2011). "Austin magistrate judge to get U.S. attorney nod". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- The White House: Office of the Press Secretary (June 28, 2011). "President Obama Nominates Four to Serve as United States Attorneys". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved September 29, 2011 – via National Archives.
- "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate". whitehouse.gov. 26 June 2014 – via National Archives.
- "United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary". www.judiciary.senate.gov.
- "Results of Executive Business Meeting – November 20, 2014 United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary" (PDF).
- Wright, John (June 28, 2011). "What's Brewing: President Obama to nominate openly gay man for U.S. attorney in Texas". Dallas Voice. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- Song, Kyung M. (June 21, 2010). "Coming out helps lessen others' fears, says U.S. Attorney Durkan". Seattle Times. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- Toce, Sarah (19 December 2014). "Robert Pitman Becomes 1st Openly Gay Judge to Sit on Federal Bench in Texas". Rainbow Times. Archived from the original on 22 December 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
- Johnson, Chris (17 December 2014). "Gay attorney confirmed to federal judiciary in Texas". Washington Blade. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
- Railey, Kimberly (17 December 2014). "Senate confirms three Texas judges, including state's first openly gay judge". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
- Robert L. Pitman at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
- Robert Pitman at Ballotpedia
- U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas
- Biography of the U.S. Attorney
William Royal Furgeson Jr.
| Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas