NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Jamar Walker to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, making him the first openly gay federal judge in the state and the first in the 4th Circuit.

It was a near party-line vote to approve Walker, 52-41.

Walker, 35, will replace Judge Raymond A. Jackson in the Norfolk division of the court. Jackson had been the first Black federal judge to serve in south Hampton Roads and is taking senior status.

An Eastern Shore native, Walker clerked for Jackson from 2011 to 2012.

“We’re pleased the Senate voted to confirm Mr. Jamar Walker to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia after we recommended him to the president,” Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine said in a joint statement. “Mr. Walker brings significant experience to the bench, and we are confident that he will serve Virginia and our country with great distinction.”

Warner and Kaine spoke on the Senate floor Monday about the historic nature of Walker’s confirmation and had urged their Senate colleagues to confirm him.

“For the last decade, he has been an invaluable asset to the Virginia’s legal community,” Warner said on the Senate floor Monday, “bringing both his zeal for public service and his personal life story.”

The senators sent a letter to the president in March 2022 about Walker’s nomination, and Biden announced it four months later.

Walker graduated from both the University of Virginia, and the UVA law school.