President Obama has selected a second openly gay black man to the federal bench; the president had nominated a diverse set of five candidates, only one of which was a white male. The move came after complaints from black lawmakers that there were too few minorities serving on the federal bench.
Nominee Darrin Gayles, a Florida state judge, would be the first openly gay black man to serve on the federal bench. Gayles, who has served as a circuit court judge for Florida’s 11th Judicial Circuit since 2011, is Obama’s second nomination for a gay black man for the same position. The first to be selected was William Thomas, but the president later opted not to resubmit the nomination due to Senator Marco Rubio’s concerns over Thomas’s “willingness to impose appropriate criminal sanctions.”
The senior adviser to Obama, Valerie Jarrett, met privately with members of the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss their concerns about the lack of diversity, especially among Southern judges. Since the new judicial nominations, the White House has posted a new graphic on their website displaying the changed diversity.
Rubio told Metro Weekly that he does not anticipate any objections to the current nominations, which also include Florida state judges Beth Bloom and Carlos Eduardo Mendoza, and attorney Paul Byron. It was also noted that Gayles was included on a list of candidates that Rubio’s office would agree to support. Before anything can become official, the US Senate must first confirm all four presidential nominations.
“Throughout their careers, these distinguished men and women have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to public service,” said Obama. “I am confident they will serve the American people with distinction from the district court bench.”