Main | Friday, January 10, 2014

Sen. Marco Rubio Blocks Appointment Of Openly Gay Judge William Thomas

After objections from Sen. Marco Rubio, President Obama has withdrawn the nomination of William Thomas, who would have become the nation's first black and openly gay federal judge. Orlando's Watermark reports:
Sen. Marco Rubio blocked the appointment, despite the fact that he supported Thomas’ initial nomination in November of 2012. The White House resubmitted about 200 nominees to the Senate at the beginning of this year, and Thomas’ name was missing from the list. Rubio interviewed Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge William Thomas and supported President Obama’s nomination of him. Nominees must secure the approval of both U.S. senators in their home state, and Sen. Bill Nelson offered his approval. The Federal Judicial Nominating Commission then officially recommended Judge Thomas to become a Federal District Court Judge for the Southern District of Florida. But in September of 2013, Rubio changed his mind and blocked confirmation hearings for Judge Thomas.
The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force reacted via press release:
We need more diversity in the federal judiciary, not less and it's disappointing that Judge William Thomas was not included among the nominees the White House submitted to the Senate this week. Judge Thomas is an eminently qualified jurist and, if confirmed, would have been the first openly gay black male to serve on the federal bench. Senator Marco Rubio's procedural maneuvering to stop this nominee was unacceptable and harmful given that the vacancy on the Southern District Court of Florida has been classified as a judicial emergency. Senator Rubio's actions are in no way helpful to the people of Florida.
(Tipped by JMG reader Dennis)

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