Deborah A. Batts, the nation’s first openly gay federal judge, who died Monday at the age of 72, was remembered by New York’s legal community as a “trailblazer” and devoted jurist who inspired generations of lawyers.

A Philadelphia native and former law professor, Batts had served on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, since her confirmation under President Bill Clinton in 1994. The court confirmed her death on Monday but did not provide additional details.

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