GOP Sen. Rubio Blocks Confirmation Of First Gay Black Judge To Federal Bench
Judge William Thomas appeared to be on his way to confirmation as the first gay black judge on the Federal District Court, but it appears that confirmation has been derailed by Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
The nomination of a gay black Miami judge to the federal bench will not move forward after Senator Marco Rubio announced he was withdrawing his support over concerns about the judge’s actions in two criminal cases.
Without Mr. Rubio’s approval, Judge William Thomas’s nomination to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in Miami, is effectively blocked. Judge Thomas, who serves on the Miami-Dade Circuit, was nominated by President Obama, with Mr. Rubio’s backing, more than 10 months ago.
Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, signed off on the nomination on July 24 after a background check raised no red flags. For a confirmation to proceed, nominees must secure the approval of both United States senators in their home state.
Had he been confirmed by the United States Senate, Judge Thomas would have become the first black openly gay man on the federal bench.
“As much as I would like to think that politics has nothing to do with this, it looks as if it does,” said Yolanda Strader, president of Miami’s largest association for black lawyers, who called Judge Thomas one of the hardest working on the bench. “It would be unfair to prevent a well-qualified judicial nominee from proceeding with the nomination process because he is an openly gay black male.”
Progress derailed. What's your take on Rubio's decision to block a black gay judge's historic appointment?