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President Obama Nominates Judge Darrin P. Gayles to the Federal Bench


Washington, DC — February 6, 2014 – President Obama has announced the intent to nominate four judges to the federal bench in two different U.S. District Courts in Florida. Among the list of nominees are Judges Beth Bloom and Darrin Gayles, who both currently serve on the Miami-Dade Circuit Court and were chosen for the Southern District Court of Florida.  If confirmed by the Senate, Judge Gayles would become the first Black, openly gay male to serve on the federal bench.

Judge Darrin Gayles received his J.D. from George Washington University Law School and his B.A. from Howard University. He began his legal career as an Assistant State Attorney in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office from 1993 to 1997.  He has served both as  counsel to the US Immigration and Naturalization Service and Assistant United States Attorney in Florida’s Southern District. In 2004, he began his judicial career when he became County Judge in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida. In 2011, he was elected as the Circuit Judge for that same circuit.

“I am proud that President Obama has once again made diversity on the federal bench a priority for his judicial nominations,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC’s Executive Director and CEO, and a Floridian for more than 25 years. “I celebrate the nomination of Judge Gayles, not only because he would make history as the first openly gay Black male to serve on the federal bench…Judge Gayles is, in fact, a qualified and stellar nominee who represents the best of our nation. That should always serve as the bottom line when nominating individuals for lifetime appointments to the judiciary.”

The nomination of Judge Gayles comes a month after Judge William Thomas of Florida, also Black and openly gay, was pulled from consideration for the same federal bench after Florida Senator Marco Rubio used his home-state prerogative to block the president’s nomination. Rubio had originally signed a letter supporting Judge Thomas, but months later decided to block his nomination because he suddenly questioned Thomas’ “judicial temperament” and had other concerns. “We will be watching closely the actions of Senator Rubio as this process ensues in hopes that good judgment prevails,” states NBJC’s Sharon Lettman-Hicks.

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.