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Obama Nominates Black Gay Jurist To Federal Bench


Florida Judge William Thomas Awaits Senate Confirmation

By Nathan James

In an administration filled with historic firsts for the LGBT community, President Obama has added another achievement to that growing list: the nomination of the first gay black jurist to serve on the federal bench.  William Thomas, who is currently serving as a judge on the Miami-Dade Circuit Court in Florida, was named for consideration to the federal Southern District Court of Florida.

If Thomas is confirmed by the Senate for this lifetime appointment, Thomas, 46, would become the first openly gay black officer of the court to serve as a federal judge.  Obama has nominated four other out judges during his time as President, and three of these have been confirmed by the Senate.

The Thomas nomination was sponsored by the Presidential Appointments Project, and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.  “We are delighted in the President’s appointment of Judge Thomas,” Victory Fund CEO Chuck Wolfe said, “We believe he’s been an excellent judge in Florida, and he will make an excellent federal jurist.”

The incoming Senate will hold conformation hearings on the judgeships in the new Congressional term.  “These judges,” President Obama noted, “have demonstrated the talent, expertise, and fair-mindedness Americans have come to expect from their judicial system.”

During Thomas’ tenure on the local Miami bench, he has presided over criminal cases, election disputes, amd municipal matters.