Obama Nominates Black, Gay Judge From Miami For Promotion To Federal Bench

Jan 4, 2013

Making sure the judiciary "resembles the nation it serves,"  President Obama has nominated a black, openly gay Miami-Dade circuit judge for elevation to the federal bench.

NOMINEE: William L. Thomas, a Miami-Dade circuit judge since 2005, 'resembles the nation' he will serve, Pres. Obama says.
Credit File

The candidate is William L. Thomas, who's been a local judge since 2005. If he's confirmed, he'll be the first black, gay federal judge who is also a man. President Bill Clinton appointed the first black-gay-period judge when he nominated Deborah Batts for the Southern District of New York.

"These individuals have demonstrated the talent, expertise, and fair-mindedness Americans expect and deserve from their judicial system," Obama said of Thomas and 32 other federal court nominees announced on Thursday.  In the  statement reported by the Huffington Post, the president continued: "I am grateful for their willingness to serve and confident that they will apply the law with the utmost impartiality and integrity... I hope the Senate will promptly consider all of my nominees and ensure justice for everyday Americans.”

HuffPo outlined Thomas' resume:

After earning his J.D. in 1994 from Temple University School of Law, Thomas began his legal career as an Assistant Public Defender in Miami-Dade County. Then, for seven years from 1997 to 2005, he represented indigent clients as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Florida's Southern District.

According to a press release from (Miami) U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, Judge Thomas would also be the first African-American to be appointed to a Florida federal district court in nearly 20 years.

"Judge Thomas is a man of great integrity, who would bring tremendous knowledge and skill to the Florida Southern District Court’s bench," the Congresswoman said in a statement.

LGBT candidates did well in the 2012 election. You can review their record in a video on the Huffington Post page.

There was at least one other federal court nominee of local interest: Fort Myers U. S. Magistrate Sheri Polster Chappell was picked for a district judge vacancy in the Middle District of Florida. She is a 1987 graduate of Broward County's Nova Southeastern University law school.