First the good news:
After a Senate vote of 98-0, Todd Hughes will become the first openly gay man to serve on a U.S. federal appeals court — the last level of appeal short of the U.S. Supreme Court.
As the Washington Blade reports, the landmark vote took place with little fanfare Tuesday morning, in a roll call vote in which debate focused on the squeezed courts budget and impending government shutdown, without mention of the new mark of judicial diversity they were about to achieve.
White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler wrote for the White House blog, “Like all of the President’s judicial nominees, Hughes has the intellect, experience, integrity, and temperament to be a successful judge. He is also gay.” Hughes is a graduate of Duke Law School and a longtime Department of Justice lawyer, most recently serving as deputy director of the DOJ’s Commercial Litigation Branch.
Now the bad news:
Yesterday Florida Senator Marco Rubio announced his intention to nix the nomination of openly gay judge William Thomas to the federal judiciary, citing questions about the judge’s “judicial temperament.”
Rubio’s flack, Brooke Sammon, told the Daily Business Review Thursday Rubio has “questions about his judicial temperament and his willingness to impose appropriate criminal sentences.” Rubio cited a specific instance that “raised serious concerns about his fitness for a lifetime federal appointment.”
Earlier this year Mr. Rubio, along with Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), supported Judge Thomas’s nomination. What changed? Perhaps the fact that Mr. Rubio is getting flack from the Tea Party, so he’s suddenly all concerned about “judicial temperament.” Yeah, right.