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Marco Rubio’s Slimy Flip-Flop Against Judge William Thomas

| October 30, 2013

Not cool. (DonkeyHotey)

Not cool. (DonkeyHotey)

By Mark Ferrulo

In an inexplicable act of flip-flopping, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has decided to block President Barack Obama’s nomination of Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge William Thomas to a seat on the federal bench for the Southern District of Florida.

Judge William Thomas.

Judge William Thomas.

Political obstructionism in Washington is hardly newsworthy, but this is an extraordinary case.

You see, Rubio recommended Thomas to Obama in the first place. He sent a letter of recommendation to the White House last year. Now that the president has nominated Thomas, Rubio has decided to oppose him.

Rubio is apparently so determined to placate the Tea Party wing of his party and obstruct Obama at every turn that he’ll even obstruct himself to do it, regardless of how Floridians are affected.

If confirmed, Thomas would become the first openly gay black federal judge, adding needed diversity to the Southern District Court. Thomas grew up in a low-income family of 10 children and rose to be regarded as one of the hardest-working, most competent judges on the Miami-Dade criminal court.

He was endorsed by the American Bar Association, and he is supported by the Dade County Police Benevolent Association, the Broward County Police Benevolent Association and the League of Prosecutors.

context floridaDespite Thomas’ unassailable qualifications, overwhelming support from non-partisan legal experts and a recommendation by Florida’s Federal Judicial Nominating Commission, Rubio is still refusing to let the nomination go forward for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Rubio’s reckless obstructionism is nothing new. Since Obama took office, Senate Republicans have played politics with our judicial system, delaying the confirmation of numerous judicial nominees.

In addition to the seat for which Thomas has been nominated, there are three other vacancies on Florida’s district courts, with two more expected next year. In addition, Judge Rosemary Barkett, whom Bill Clinton appointed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1994, stepped down on Sept. 30. That makes seven vacancies for Florida’s senators to help fill.

We all know Congress is dysfunctional, but Rubio and his GOP colleagues apparently want to undermine the effectiveness of the judicial branch as well. Rubio and other Senate Republicans would rather obstruct for obstruction’s sake than actually put fair, diverse and qualified judges on the bench. Our federal courts hear cases on many issues, including Social Security benefits, immigration, employment issues and civil liberties.

An aide says Rubio has concerns about Thomas’ “willingness to impose appropriate criminal sentences.” Thomas has presided over more than 300 cases that have gone to verdict. His endorsement from law enforcement, prosecutors and even previously from Rubio himself, however, would suggest that the senator’s newfound opposition has more to do with politics than court rulings.

The seat in the Southern District has been empty for nearly 600 days. During this time, cases have backed up, making it harder for Floridians to access their courts. Floridians deserve to have their courts working at full capacity.

It’s time for Rubio to kick off his flip-flops, roll up his sleeves and get to work ensuring that Thomas gets a simple yes or no vote.

Mark Ferrulo is the executive director of Progress Florida.

17 Responses for “Marco Rubio’s Slimy Flip-Flop Against Judge William Thomas”

  1. Rob says:

    To act otherwise would be out of character for a man who stands shoulder to shoulder with Ted Cruz.

    Rubio is as crooked as a person with two left feet

    • Robin says:

      Judge William Thomas landlocked my property by taking away an easement that had been in place prior to 1935 in order to give it to a very wealthy real estate developer (who also happens to be the largest contributor to the Democratic Party)! He clearly stated that prior rulings that were presented in court didn’t matter to him. He ruined my business, people we employed lost their jobs and this is not the only atrocity he’s done while on the bench! KNOW ALL FACTS BEFORE YOU STATE THAT JUDGE THOMAS SHOULD ADVANCE! Please see my website at for more details.

      • Moshe London says:

        Thomas is a trial court judge. If either you or your lawyer believed he erred in his ruling & made a decision not supported by law and legal precedent…take it up with the appellate court. In civil cases one party or the other is dissatisfied with the outcome. By the way…I have a suspicion that a jury heard your case and didnt side with you. Why blame the judge blame the jury…better yet why not blame your lawyer.

  2. Diana L says:

    And it goes on and on and on.

  3. Mahler Walter says:

    We need to get rid of this Senator who represents the Tea Party instead of all Floridians. Let’s elect someone who can do the right thing and not forget who they represent.

  4. Steve Wolfe says:

    Yes, only Republicans change their minds. Yes, only Republicans play politics. Yes, only Republicans are sleazy. Yes, I get it. There are no examples of this kind of behavior by Democrats ever. Only Democrats are pillars of justice and integrity. Republicans exist only to make life miserable. I get it.

    • A.S.F. says:

      @Steve Wolfe says–Nobody is saying that ONLY Republicans are to blame for the mess we are in. There is plenty of blame to go around. I, for one, would be the first to say that we, Democrats, have been FAR from perfect. But Conservative Republicans, especially in the House (and especially the Tea Party Faction) seem particularly incapable of self-correction and they seem blindly determined to bring this entire country (including their own Party) down in pursuit of their self-interested, petty and sometimes plain bizarre agendas. Your comment is typical of that kind of thinking. Everything is black and white and to the extreme, with no reasoning, moderation or compromise allowed. The Democrats are not all good, in my eyes. Not all Republicans are wrong in their ideas and many, I am sure, are perfectly well-intentioned but they have let their entire platform be hijacked by extreme elements within their own ranks, to the point where they can no longer be trusted, by the majority of American citizens, to govern this country. That is why the Republicans have lost the last two Presidential elections. And their attempts to stack the deck by gerry-mandering and redistricting, rather than honestly examining their own policies and how they have alienated so many voters, only illustrates even more how they cannot be trusted.

      • Steve Wolfe says:

        Yes, supporting the Constitution is a bizarre agenda by any measure. Sure is self-centered, too. Republicans are setting their own tent on fire by tolerating those radical Tea Party meanies. I know their intent is to ruin the country. I’ve heard Democrats tell me that many times, so it must be true. And Democrats have never gerry-mandered or redistricted. Perhaps those Conservatives, whose role models are the Founding Fathers, rather than modern left-leaning college professors, or incoherent protesters, or a certain former Weather Underground bomber and murderer, are not self-correcting because they are right, and find nothing in the Constitution that needs correcting. As for the majority of American citizens’ current feelings, we will see which way they lean next year. If an increasingly intrusive, wasteful, inefficient, and unaccountable Federal Government seems to be the way the majority wants to go, then this country will get what it deserves. And I hope that giving up an ever-increasing share of your income and rights makes you happy. That’s the fuel of big government. Unfortunately, their biggest product is smoke.

    • The Truth says:

      In the eyes of many Republicans, these thoughts are the norm except about the Democrats. Republican’s feel as though they are perfect in every way – wearing their patriotic flag shirts and talking about the constitution.

  5. Dulce says:

    Regardless of your opinions of Marco Rubio, Judge William Thomas has a horrible record on his decisions. Had he been born as an only child to a white hard working single mother who realized she couldn’t afford 10 children because she had to work 10 hour days, and she choose not to accept public assistance – we’d be hearing a different tune regarding Judge Thomas’s upbringing. Children grow up to fight odds every single day! Kudos to all who make something out of their lives! Everyone has their choices in life to make based on what they are given. So I will give you cold hard facts regarding Judge Thomas’s rulings:
    1) Judge William Thomas has purposely landlocked property owners from their own commercial property in Miami. The ruling is in favor of (of course) a wealthy developer who heavily contributes to the Democratic Party!
    2) 10 years after Joel Lebron and his buddies brutally gang-raped 18 year old Ana Maria Angel in 2002, Judge William Thomas openly WEPT as he pronounced the death sentence for Joel Lebron!
    3) Michele Traverso left a Coconut grove bar drunk out of his mind, drove on the Rickenbacker Causeway and killed Aaron Cohen, a cyclist peddling along the Rickenbacker Causeway. Judge William Thomas could have sentenced Traverso to as many as 35 years in prison – yet only sentenced him to 364 days in jail!!
    Read the rest on BEFORE YOU continue to praise Judge Thomas!

  6. Rocky Mac says:

    Dulce: I checked out one of your statements and found it not totally correct. regarding Traverse who was “drunk out of his mind”, he was sentenced to the maximum. How do YOU know of his state of drunkednes when it was 24 hours after the fact when he wa arrested? I am not defending the judge, but wanted to check out all the allegations put forth on this page. I wonder why people are really upset with this nomination? And for flip flop Rubio, don’t tell me he was not aware of these cases.

  7. Sherry Epley says:

    Marco Rubio needs to go. . . pure and simple! Were he not Hispanic (a token??), he would not have been elected at all.

    • Dulce says:

      Same can be said of Gay, Black and from a “mother with 10 children” family Judge Thomas….would he be where he’s at if his life would have been different?

  8. Rocky Mac says:

    Dulce, I just checked out the “WEPT” incident by the judge. s it not okay to be emotionally affected by the gruesome murder by Lebron? He was weeping for the young woman who suffered horribly before her death. would you prefer a robot to sit in judgement?

  9. confidential says:

    It so funny to hear an immigrant with a strong foreign accent tell our President that was born in Hawaii to go back to Kenya!! Maybe he should go back to where he came from! and his Senator son too.

  10. confidential says:

    More here about the send off to Kenya by Cruz father in 2012…I am glad we slapped him and Obama was re-elected. Just pathetic, an immigrant telling us all, we, that elected our president by majority vote, to ship him somewhere else.. Only in America! Go do that in Russia, China or the like!

  11. A.S.F. says:

    Yes, it is very sad to see someone like Marco Rubio, who could serve as such a prime example of what the American Dream can mean to those on the outside who might aspire to it, become merely a stooge for the right-wing elements that would turn it into a nightmare.

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