HRC Blog

Marco Rubio Withdraws Support for Openly Gay Black Federal Judge Nominee

Post submitted by Mitchell Scuzzarella, HRC Digital Media Intern

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida recently announced his withdrawal of support for Judge William Thomas, who was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. If Thomas were elected, he would be the first openly gay black judge to serve on the federal bench.

Thomas currently serves as a state court judge in Florida and has won support from many of the state’s influential groups. While Rubio claims to take issue with two of Thomas’s past rulings, Alliance for Justice argues in a new op-ed piece that Rubio is dropping support for political reasons.

The group has called out Marco Rubio for withdrawing support of Thomas in fear of alienating right wing voters who would take offense to an openly gay black federal judge.

Alliance for Justice wrote:

Sen. Rubio made that clear when, having previously supported the nomination of WilliamThomas to serve as a judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, he first delayed for months giving the Senate Judiciary Committee his okay to move forward with the nomination then changed his mind entirely.  By committee tradition, both home state senators must sign off on a judicial nomination for it to proceed.  Sen. Rubio’s reversal effectively vetoes the nomination.

As a result, this judgeship, already vacant for more than 18 months, will remain vacant stilllonger, causing unconscionable delays for residents of Miami-Dade, Broward,Palm Beach and several other South Florida counties seeking justice in federal court…

Judge Thomas would have filled a seat that has been vacant for more than a year and a half.  The Administrative Office of the United States Courts says the situation is so bad that the vacancy is a “judicial emergency.” 

By his actions on the Thomas nomination, Rubio has given new meaning to the term “obstruction of justice.”

Read Alliance for Justice's post in its entirety here.

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