Senate Confirms Puerto Rican Judge Gustavo Gelpí to 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston

Oct 18, 2021
9:30 PM

The John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston, where the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is located. (Photo by Beyond My Ken/CREDIT)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Judge Gustavo Gelpí to the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit based in Boston, making him the second Puerto Rican judge to be a member of that court.

Gelpí’s nomination passed the Senate by a vote of 51 to 42 after being nominated in May by President Joe Biden.

“I am proud that the Senate has confirmed Gustavo Gelpí to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said in a statement. “He is only the second fellow American from Puerto Rico to be confirmed to this important court. Judge Gelpí has a long record of standing up against injustice and is a firm believer in equality under the law. I am confident that he will build on the legacy of the late Judge Torruella, who served as a powerful defender of the civil rights guaranteed to every citizen under our Constitution.”:

Judge Juan Rafael Torruella del Valle, also from Puerto Rico, was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and served on the First Circuit Court of Appeals from 1984 until his death in October last year.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals includes in its jurisdiction Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire.

Gelpí’s confirmation by the Senate comes as part of a wave of judicial nominations by President Biden aimed at increasing diversity in the courts.

“I could not be more thrilled that the Senate has voted to confirm Judge Gustavo Gelpí to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on the heels of Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who led the charge on the nomination along with Schumer. “Judge Gelpí is only the second Latino and Puerto Rican to serve on the First Circuit, and his confirmation should be a moment of great pride for Latinos across the country, especially Puerto Ricans on the island and the diaspora community. Throughout his service on the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, Judge Gelpí has demonstrated he is an eminently qualified jurist with sound judgment and an even temperament that will make him an excellent addition on the First Circuit, and I have no doubt he will make us all proud in this new position.”

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, a Republican who is Puerto Rico’s non-voting member of Congress, tweeted that Gelpí “will continue to exercise justice with dignity.”

The governor of Puerto Rico, Democrat Pedro Pierluisi, also shared his congratulations.

“My congratulations to the federal judge Gustavo Gelpí for his confirmation to serve as the second Puerto Rican in the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit,” his account tweeted.

“After expressly recommending him,” the governor continued, “this past June I had the honor to accompany him in his nomination hearing before the federal Senate Judiciary Committee, in which his extensive qualifications for this important position were made clear. I thank the federal Senate for giving their confidence in that he has always been a distinguished jurist and defender of the rule of law through his legal career over the past 19 years. Congratulations! Everyone on our island wishes you much success in your new and important assignment. Puerto Rico is proud of our Judge Gustavo Gelpí!”


Pablo Manríquez is the Washington correspondent for Latino Rebels. Twitter: @PabloReports