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Senator Marco Rubio Succeeds in Blocking Gay Black Judge's Nomination to Federal Bench

Earlier this year we reported that Senator Marco Rubio was holding up the confirmation of Judge William Thomas to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Thomas serves on the Miami Dade Circuit and was nominated more than a year ago.

ThomasIn September, Rubio withdrew his support for the nomination. Rubio said he withdrew his support because of Thomas's actions in two criminal cases, and without Rubio's support the nomination was dead. Florida's other Senator, Bill Nelson, had given his full approval. Supporters of Thomas believed Rubioblocked the nomination for political reasons.

Yesterday, news came that Rubio had succeeded in thwarting Thomas's nomination.

A White House official confirmed for the Washington Blade that Thomas wasn’t resubmitted.

“The nomination of Judge William Thomas was returned by the Senate and Sen. Rubio has made his objection clear, so the president chose not to renominate him,” the official said.

Had Thomas been confirmed by the Senate, he would have been the first openly gay black male to sit on the federal bench. (Deborah Batts, confirmed to the federal bench in 1994 and the first-ever out person to sit on the federal judiciary, is also black.)


Marco Rubio Offers Keynote Speech on Morality to Anti-Gay Florida Group: VIDEO

 

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Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) gave the keynote speech at the virulently anti-gay group Florida Family Policy Council over the weekend, as Towleroad reported earlier this month.

RubioThe AP reports:

"The moral well-being of our nation is our business. It's everybody's business," Rubio said to applause at the Florida Family Policy Council fundraising dinner. "The debate we should be having isn't whether or not we have a right to talk about values and morals in the public square, the debate we should be having instead is which values and morals our nation should focus on." ...

The dinner was raising money for the group that led the petition drive to put a gay marriage ban on the state ballot. The constitutional amendment was approved by voters in 2008. Videos shown before and after Rubio spoke showed its president, John Stemberger, speaking against gay marriage, gay scout masters and allowing people who have had sex changes to teach in schools.

Watch part of Rubio's speech about God, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Marco Rubio Offers Keynote Speech on Morality to Anti-Gay Florida Group: VIDEO" »


Senator Marco Rubio Headlining Anti-Gay Fundraiser

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Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is headlining a fundraiser on November 16 for the virulently anti-gay group Florida Family Policy Council which is led by John Stemberger. The dinner will also honor Mat Staver, the head of the radically conservative legal group Liberty Counsel.

Stemberger, as we have reported, spearheaded Trail Life USA, an anti-gay alternative to the Boy Scouts, and, as Right Wing Watch notes, has said that being gay is an “artificial, social construct” that is “dangerous," warned that the Boy Scouts will experience widespread sexual abuse as a result of including gay members under the age of eighteen, and alleged that affirming LGBT youth is "tantamount to abuse."

Adds RWW: "Stemberger and Staver are far outside of the mainstream, but with Rubio preparing for a possible presidential run in 2016 he may use this event, much like his speech at the Values Voter Summit, to soothe any doubts about his right-wing credentials."


Marco Rubio: ENDA Will Burden Small Businesses, Lead to 'Frivolous Lawsuits'

RubioAs the Senate prepares to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act next Monday, speculation has now turned to who will be the key 60th vote necessary to avoid filibuster. All 55 Democratic and four GOP Senators have already committed to supporting the bill, and Majority Leader Harry Reid recently told Rachel Maddow "without question, we're going to get at least five Republicans."

Just don't count on Sen. Marco Rubio being that key vote.

Via spokeswoman:

"[Senator Rubio] believes people's qualifications, performance and honesty are the most important qualities by which they should be judged in the workplace. If you're a good worker, that's all that should matter," spokeswoman Brooke Sammon said. "This legislation goes far beyond protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation, and he is currently studying what kinds of burdens it could impose on small businesses, frivolous lawsuits that could result, and ensuring that religious freedoms under the First Amendment are protected." 

When asked about ENDA at the annual Faith and Freedom Forum back in June, Rubio asserted that he's "not for any special protections based on orientation."

Who knew being able to safely be yourself at work counts as a special protection.


Senator Marco Rubio Blocks Gay Black Judge's Nomination to Federal Bench

Back in July we reported that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was holding up the confirmation of Judge William Thomas to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Thomas serves on the Miami Dade Circuit and was nominated more than 10 months ago.

Rubio has now withdrawn his support for Obama's nomination.

ThomasRubio says he withdrew his support because of actions in two criminal cases, and without that support the nomination is dead. Florida's other Senator, Bill Nelson, has given his full approval. Supporters of Thomas believe Rubio is blocking the nomination for political reasons, the NYT reports:

“As much as I would like to think that politics has nothing to do with this, it looks as if it does,” said Yolanda Strader, president of Miami’s largest association for black lawyers, who called Judge Thomas one of the hardest working on the bench. “It would be unfair to prevent a well-qualified judicial nominee from proceeding with the nomination process because he is an openly gay black male.”

Ms. Strader said the group has started an information campaign on social media and is considering an online petition to help move the nomination forward.

The paper adds:

The Congressional Black Caucus has been critical of Republicans in Congress who are holding up judicial nominations, including for a number of black judges. The group said that out of 787 federal positions, only 95 are held by black judges.

“That is a slender reed for Senator Rubio to hang this on,” said Representative Alcee Hastings, Democrat of Florida, referring to the two court cases. “Decisions in this country need to be made by females and Latinos and Asians and blacks.”

In related news, watch for the confirmation of Todd Hughes to the Federal Circuit later today. If confirmed, he would be the first openly gay circuit judge in history.


Sen. Marco Rubio Obstructs First Gay Black Judge Nominated To The Federal Bench

6a00d8341c730253ef017ee527ef8f970d-piBack in November, President Obama nominated out gay Judge William Thomas for a seat on the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Unfortunately, Judge Thomas is still waiting to be confirmed by the US Senate while many of President Obama's other judicial nominees appointed at the same time have already been confirmed. The Washington Blade today reports that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and a little blue slip of paper are the only things standing in the way of advancing Thomas' confirmation.

When it comes to senate confirmations of Presidential appointees to the bench, senators on the judiciary committee are not the only ones who get to weigh in. Senators from a nominee's home state are involved as well and provided with "blue slips" they must then submit in order for the confirmation process to continue. However, as the United States Senate Committe on the Judiciary notes, "The return of a positive "blue slip" is not a commitment by either home state Senator to support or oppose, a pending nomination." The purpose rather is to "encourage consultation" and respect the senator's "interest in nominees from their home state." Though Florida's other senator, Bill Nelson, recently submitted his blue slip, perhaps due to recent media scrutiny surrounding his inaction on Thomas' confirmation, Rubio has yet to submit his, without concrete explanation, his office not responding, "to repeated requests from the Blade over the past two weeks to comment on why he continues to hold up the Thomas nomination."

RubioNow LGBT groups and others are calling for movement on Thomas' nomination. The Washington Blade reports:

Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, is among those calling for Rubio to take action.

“He should return the blue slip and allow this well-qualified jurist to get confirmed by the U.S. Senate,” Sainz said. “The federal district court system is already backlogged. There’s no good reason why justice should be further delayed when Judge Thomas is ready, willing and able to serve.”


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