Thursday, November 15, 2012
President Obama has nominated Judge William Thomas to serve on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. If confirmed, Judge Thomas would be the first openly gay African-American man to serve on the Federal bench. He joins two other openly gay judicial nominees who are still awaiting Senate confirmation - Pamela Ki Mai Chen, nominated for the Eastern District of New York, and Judge Michael McShane, nominated for the District of Oregon. Three other openly gay Federal judges previously nominated by President Obama have already been approved and are at work - Judges J. Paul Oetken and Alison Nathan in the Southern District of New York and Judge Michael Fitzgerald in the Central District of California. President Clinton was the first to nominate an out gay African-American to the Federal Bench. She was Judge Deborah Batts of the Southern District of New York.