Senator Marco Rubio (R) has successfully blocked the appointment of what would have been the first openly gay black man to wear a federal judge’s robe.The White House confirmed that President Obama would not be reintroducing Judge William Thomas’ nomination to the U.S. Senate, because the initial nomination was “returned by the Senate and Senator Rubio”
Back in July 2013, the Shark Tank reported that the reasons why Rubio was blocking a judge he first recommended to the President, was because of his “past record on the bench.”
Here is what we wrote:
Rubio’s office is quiet about the nomination, but a source very close to the nomination pointed to the Shark Tank via text mail, the probably reasons why Rubio is holding up Thomas’ nomination. The text points to the judge’s past record on the bench, a DUI case, as well as a link to a high profile murder case, as being the reasons why Rubio is most likely holding up the nomination.
The Tampa Bay times reported that Rubio was concerned about “his involvement in a controversial case in which a man was given a sentence of just 364 days in jail for the hit-and-run death of a cyclist.” Thomas light sentence came down because he was concerned about the driver’s blood disorder that would put the offender at risk of further suffering and possibly death, were he to be jailed any longer.The murder case in question is about the 2006 murder of a 18-year-old girl that was kidnapped, raped, and executed by 5 thugs, who confessed to the crime, but whose confessions were thrown out by Judge Thomas.-Shark Tank
Rubio’s office, ala Brooke Sammon, stuck to script and pointed to Rubio’s past comments as to why he was hell-bent on blocking Thomas.
“The nomination of Judge Thomas has also been thoroughly reviewed, and Senator Rubio has determined that Thomas’s record on the state court raises serious concerns about his fitness for a lifetime federal appointment. Those concerns include questions about his judicial temperament and his willingness to impose appropriate criminal sentences, particularly in the two high-profile cases of Michele Traverso and Joel Lebron last year. After reviewing Thomas’s record, Senator Rubio cannot support moving forward with the nomination,” Sammon said. –HuffPo
And then there is the affirmative action we-need-more-black-jurists-in-the-courts outcry, which you knew was coming.
“Judge Thomas is a well-qualified jurist,” Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) told HuffPost in the fall. “There is a serious underrepresentation of minorities on the bench and partisan obstructionism isn’t making it any better.”
Hastings is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has railed against Rubio for blocking black judicial nominees at a time when the group says black judges make up about 8.3 percent of the federal judicial bench. In addition to Thomas, Rubio had been withholding his blue slip for another black judicial nominee, Brian Davis. But Rubio ultimately agreed to move forward with Davis, who has since been confirmed.
“I am upset and concerned. Senator Marco Rubio himself said that Judge Thomas had passed all the tests, and then all of sudden for Senator Rubio to say Judge Thomas is not suitable is just not right,” Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) said Tuesday. “I don’t know what more I can do to make Senator Rubio understand that what he is doing is wrong.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if groups like GLAAD, or even the New Black Panther Party, Jesse Jackson, or even Sharpton, put in their two cents worth of racially divisive rhetoric to oppose Rubio.