If President Obama's nomination of William Thomas is confirmed, Thomas would become the first openly gay, black man to serve as a federal judge. Senator Marco Rubio, the man who first recommended Thomas to Obama, however, is now blocking the nomination over his concerns with Thomas's "temperament."
Well, now a group of local religious leaders have announced they're planning to stage a protest at Rubio's office over his opposition.
Despite the potential history-making appointment, Thomas's nomination was remarkably controversy free until Rubio decided to throw a monkey wrench into the process. His nomination to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida was widely supported in the legal community.
If Thomas's confirmation is to proceed, he needs the backing of both senators from Florida. Democrat Bill Nelson had already signed off in June. Rubio has refused to do so.
"[The Senator's] concerns include questions about his judicial temperament and his willingness to impose appropriate criminal sentences," a Rubio Spokesman told The New York Times back in June.
Rubio claims the sentence Thomas handed down in the high-profile hit-and-run case of Michele Traverso who killed a bicyclist along the Rickenbacker Causeway was too lenient. Traverso was sentenced to 22.6 months in prison. Though, even the prosecutor in that case wrote to Rubio and said that the sentence was appropriate given the circumstances of the case.
According to the Miami Herald, Rev. Carl Johnson, of Miami's 93rd Street Baptist Church is now set to lead a protest on Tuesday of Rubio's office over the hold up.
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"He is well trained in the law. He has a good, honest and discerning character that makes him an outstanding judge," Johnson said.
Johnson and about thirty or forty others will gather at Rubio's West Miami office at 10:30 a.m. next Tuesday.
Though Rubio claims concerns over Thomas's temperament, many critics feel his new ound opposition to Thomas is rooted more in politics. Cynical or not, critics believe Rubio is hesitant about playing a part in the rise of America's first openly gay, black federal judge because it may not endear him to his Tea Party base.