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Marco Rubio Blocks Gay Black Judge’s Nomination To Federal Bench, Puzzling Everyone

WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has withdrawn his support from a federal judicial nominee that he previously recommended — William Thomas, a gay black judge from Miami — and, to the anger and puzzlement of many, is preventing the nomination from moving forward at all.

Thomas would have made history, if confirmed, as the first openly gay black man to serve as a federal judge. Rubio initially recommended Thomas to President Barack Obama late last year as a nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. There's a particular urgency to filling the judgeship, vacant for 18 months. The court backlog is so bad that the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts has deemed it a “judicial emergency."

…Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition, suggested homophobia and racism may be in play.

"As a Floridian for more than 25 years, I am aghast by Senator Rubio's withdrawal of support for the nomination of Judge William Thomas," said Lettman-Hicks. "Senator Rubio’s newfound opposition seems only to serve as a thinly-veiled mask for the racism and homophobia that permeates his tea party politics. This brand of political theatrics is unfit for the U.S. Senate, and is beneath the dignity of Judge Thomas."

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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.