Spiritual leaders rallying over Sen. Marco Rubio’s opposition to judge

 
 
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. smiles while speaking with a reporter on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov, 5 2013, before attending a Republican policy luncheon.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. smiles while speaking with a reporter on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov, 5 2013, before attending a Republican policy luncheon.
Jacquelyn Martin / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Spiritual leaders are rallying Tuesday to urge U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, to drop opposition to the appointment of Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas to the federal bench.

President Barack Obama nominated Thomas for a federal judgeship over a year ago, a move that enjoys widespread support in South Florida’s legal community.

But Rubio, who originally recommended Thomas to the president, is now blocking the nomination, claiming that he has concerns about the judge’s temperament and qualifications.

Thomas’ supporters in the legal community say Rubio is unfairly distorting the judge’s record to pander to the Tea Party and other Republican right-wingers.

Thomas would be the first openly gay African-American federal judge.

Tuesday’s rally is being led by the Rev. Carl Johnson, of Miami’s 93rd Street Baptist Church.

“He is well trained in the law. He has a good, honest and discerning character that makes him an outstanding judge,” Johnson said of Thomas, a longtime state court judge.

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