Obama nominee would be first openly gay black male on federal bench
February 5th, 2014
01:28 PM ET
7 months ago

Obama nominee would be first openly gay black male on federal bench

Washington (CNN) - The slate of judicial nominees that President Barack Obama announced Wednesday includes a judge who, if confirmed, would become the first openly gay male African-American on the federal bench.

Darrin Gayles, a state circuit court judge in Florida, was one of four nominees announced Wednesday for two different U.S. District Courts in Florida. A fifth nominee – Cheryl Ann Krause – was tapped to serve on a Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals.

Gayles is nominated to serve in the Miami-based Southern District – the same federal bench where Obama first nominated William Thomas in November 2012, before eventually pulling the nomination last month. Thomas is also an openly gay African-American.

Thomas’ confirmation was blocked by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who originally signed a letter supporting the judge. In a statement, Rubio’s office said the senator questioned Thomas’ “judicial temperament” and other concerns.

Under arcane rules, a senator can unilaterally block the Senate from considering a nominee from his home state by refusing to return a so-called blue slip. There was no indication Rubio would oppose these latest choices.

The group of nominees Wednesday, which also includes two woman and one Hispanic judge, comes after outcry from civil rights leaders and African-American members of Congress who claim Obama’s record of nominees doesn’t reflect the diversity of their home regions.

In December, three African-American members of Congress claimed they were deliberately kept out of the process for filling vacancies on two Atlanta-based federal courts.

"Justice can't be found in secret deals that shut the people out. Mr. President, the lives of the people of this state are hanging in the balance," said U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat. "We believe it is not too late to turn this train around."

The White House pushed back strongly against the complaints, noting that nearly 20 percent of the judges Obama has named are African American.

Obama has also named two women to the Supreme Court, including the first Latina jurist, Sonia Sotomayor.

On Wednesday the White House published a new website that displays graphically the diversity of Obama’s judicial nominees, proclaiming “This is the first time our judicial pool has been this diverse.”

“The men and women the President has nominated to enforce our laws and deliver justice represent his unprecedented commitment expanding the diversity of our nation's highest courts. That's a big deal,” the site reads.

Both Republicans and Democrats increasingly see the federal courts as a political battleground. And nationwide, open seats have gone unfilled for years due to partisan warfare and political gridlock.

CNN’s Bill Mears contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • Obama administration • President Obama • White House
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. ada ada

    What "diverse nominees"?...they are ALL far left Liberals...

    February 5, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  2. One Question

    What ever happened to the good old days when qualifications mattered more than who you slept with or what your color was? These people will twist the justice system from being blind to being sympathetic to their own cause. Justice is supposed to be blind, not sensitive to color and sexually.

    February 5, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. just asking

    where are the qualified conservative white eastern europeans? why are they being discriminated against? don't those populations also deserve to be represented on the bench?

    February 5, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "would become the first openly gay male African-American on the federal bench."

    Rubio has already sworn to block him using the old rule about Senators being able to block nominees to their state.

    February 5, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. Donna

    So much for justice being blind.... Leftists think EVERYTHING is about color, sexual orientation and gender. Divide and conquer, and while everybody is fighting each other, take everything away, including your freedom.

    February 5, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    Thomas’ confirmation was blocked by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who originally signed a letter supporting the judge.
    -----------------------------------------
    It's all politics.

    February 5, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    We know, without any doubt that only extreme liberals, will be nominated. That is of course, the case, with Obama appointments, already.

    The Dems continue to stack the deck, against the people of America, in their effort to take total control of America...........and transform the country into a socialist dictatorship.

    February 5, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. S. B. Stein

    I want to know what the major objection is. If is because he is not like Rubio, then there is going to be a long wait for Obama to get anyone through the Senate confirmation process.

    February 5, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Donna

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?
    Thomas’ confirmation was blocked by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who originally signed a letter supporting the judge.
    -------------–
    It's all politics.
    -–

    Correct. Politics and not qualifications drove the list of nominees.

    February 5, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. tom l

    And it matters why that he is gay and African American? Oh yeah, liberals care about skin pigmentation and sexual preference. It's all they care about.

    February 5, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. Al-NY,NY

    way to stick it in their eyes Mr President. Put candidates (who are just as qualified to serve as those put out when Duh Duh Duh-bya was POTUS) out there and dare the white, christian, old man party to say no.

    February 5, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. O'drama ya Mama

    just asking

    where are the qualified conservative white eastern europeans? why are they being discriminated against? don't those populations also deserve to be represented on the bench?
    February 5, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    200 years of representation wasnt enough?

    February 5, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. just asking

    O'drama ya Mama
    200 years of representation wasnt enough?
    --

    so you're saying there can be no more on the bench? if wasn't their fault they were the only qualified, educated people for the job. so the left intends to discriminate against people now because of what happened hundreds of years ago?

    February 5, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Wake up People!

    Thank you O'Drama!!

    Their false victimhood is hilarious!!

    February 5, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    Donna
    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?
    Thomas’ confirmation was blocked by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who originally signed a letter supporting the judge.
    -----–
    It's all politics.
    -–

    Correct. Politics and not qualifications drove the list of nominees.
    ----------------------------------
    Wrong! Rubio supported the nominee then blocked him. Obviously Gayles is qualified for the job.

    February 5, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. TONE

    @O'drama ya Mama
    200 years of representation wasnt enough?

    Thank you for that,that answer made my day.

    February 5, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. rs

    Donna

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?
    Thomas’ confirmation was blocked by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who originally signed a letter supporting the judge.
    -----–
    It's all politics.
    -–

    Correct. Politics and not qualifications drove the list of nominees
    _____________
    And this judge isn't qualified, because.... (be VERY careful here...)?

    February 5, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    We know, without any doubt that only extreme liberals, will be nominated. That is of course, the case, with Obama appointments, already.

    The Dems continue to stack the deck, against the people of America, in their effort to take total control of America...........and transform the country into a socialist dictatorship.
    ________________________
    Oh, sure, Mr. Bush didn't stack the SCOTUS with Right wing nutjobs, right? Elections have consequences. Too bad your rich, weak guy blew out.

    February 5, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    "so you're saying there can be no more on the bench? if wasn't their fault they were the only qualified, educated people for the job. so the left intends to discriminate against people now because of what happened hundreds of years ago?"
    --------------------------------
    Whoa. No, it's more like some people in this country, who are liberals, moderates, and conservatives alike, want to put an end to the hundreds of years of discrimmination in this country.

    February 5, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel

    We know, without any doubt that only extreme liberals, will be nominated. That is of course, the case, with Obama appointments, already.

    The Dems continue to stack the deck, against the people of America, in their effort to take total control of America...........and transform the country into a socialist dictatorship.
    ---------------------------
    Tryouts for the "Atlas Shrugged" stage production are on the next blog, dude.

    February 5, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. TNPatriot

    Rick McDaniel
    We know, without any doubt that only extreme liberals, will be nominated. That is of course, the case, with Obama appointments, already.
    -----
    Kinda like when both Bush's and Reagan only appointed extreme far right conservatives. It's the American way. If you don't like it, you and Rubio can both move to Cuba.

    February 5, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. O'drama ya Mama

    just asking

    O'drama ya Mama
    200 years of representation wasnt enough?
    -

    so you're saying there can be no more on the bench? if wasn't their fault they were the only qualified, educated people for the job. so the left intends to discriminate against people now because of what happened hundreds of years ago?
    February 5, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    What are you talking about? He nominates the first openly gay black male and all of a sudden he is discriminating? Where do you come up with this stuff? Its crazy that finally there is a black man in the white house and all of a sudden white people get scared and think they no longer matter and that they are being discriminated against. I'll tell ya I'm almost ashamed to be associated with some of you cry babies.

    February 5, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. xray vision

    What accomplishments can any gop candidate run on, they've done absolutely nothing, do they really think that every ad they run be an attack, and never actually mention doing anything? They have done exactly zero, nothing at all, not one thing they can claim to have done, going to be a tough one.

    February 5, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. Silence DoGood

    @O'drama ya Mama
    Its crazy that finally there is a black man in the white house and all of a sudden white people get scared and think they no longer matter and that they are being discriminated against.
    ---------
    Good point! This starts to sound like an updated version of the old racist comment about some types of people "getting too uppity". This is a theme though with conservatives. Even though there are 10x the number of christian churches compared to McDonalds, they scream War on Christianity. The Tea Party is 1% black and the GOP is 2% black and there is an imaginary War on White people. When is there no War on White people or Christianity? When we are all white and Christian? It is absurd.

    February 5, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. bill

    Obama would not his son to play football-dolls??? general gates "obama only showed passion about the military when he was talking about gays". is anyone getting the picture???? lies and......................

    February 5, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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