Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sen. Rubio (R-FL) Blocks Black Gay Federal Judicial Nominee

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has proven repeatedly that he is not a friend to the LGBT community but this latest action takes things to a new level. Previously, Rubio had been thought to only be delaying his approval for U.S. district court nominee Bill Thomas but now comes word that Rubio is blocking President Obama's nomination of the very first openly gay, Black man to the federal judiciary, a historic first. Generally, both United States Senators have to agree on nominees for any federal judgeship in their state, and Thomas is nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The Advocate reports that Rubio has withdrawn his support for the Thomas nomination:
Rubio, a Republican, announced Monday that he would no longer support the nomination of Miami-Dade circuit judge William Thomas to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, citing concerns about Thomas’s rulings in two criminal cases, The New York Times reports. Nominees for federal judgeships need the support of both U.S. senators from their home state in order for the confirmation process to continue. Florida’s other senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, has endorsed Thomas, who would be the nation’s first openly gay African-American federal judge. 
Yolanda Strader, president of a Miami association for black lawyers, accused Rubio of playing politics with Thomas’s nomination. “As much as I would like to think that politics has nothing to do with this, it looks as if it does,” Strader told the Times. “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.” Her group is initiating a social media campaign in support of Thomas and may start an online petition to move his nomination forward.
This is pretty heartbreaking as it comes on the heels of the news that the United States Senate had unanimously approved the first openly gay man to a federal appellate judgeship on Tuesday. Hopefully President Obama will find another openly gay Black man to be nominated for a federal judgeship soon as he continues his campaign of diversifying the federal judiciary.

Hat/tip to The Advocate

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