Despite widespread local approval in the legal community and a surprising show of support from religious leaders, Miami-Dade Judge William Thomas will not receive a promotion to the federal level with a spot in U.S. District Court for the Southern District. Thomas would have been the first openly gay, black judge in history, but Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has now officially killed that nomination.
Federal judges are appointed by the president but need support from both of a state's senators. Rubio actually suggested Thomas to President Obama in the first place but earlier this year withdrew his support. Incidentally, that withdrawal came right around the time many gay groups began heralding Williams' appointment as a sign of progress.
Officially, however, Rubio pointed to Thomas' "judicial temperament." Rubio cited two sentences handed down by Thomas that the senator didn't think were strict enough, including Thomas' sentencing in the high-profile hit-and-run case of Michael Traverso. However, even the prosecutor in that case said Thomas' sentencing was appropriate given the circumstances.
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Without Rubio's support, Obama has now pulled the nomination, according to Naked Politics.
Last month, a local Baptist preacher led a protest at Rubio's office in support of Thomas' appointment.
"He is well trained in the law. He has a good, honest, and discerning character that makes him an outstanding judge," Rev. Cal Johnson said.