William L. Thomas

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William Thomas
Personal details
Born 1967 (age 49–50)
Uniontown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater Washington and Jefferson

Temple University

William L. Thomas (born 1967) is a Circuit Judge for Florida's Eleventh Judicial Circuit and former nominee for United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.


Thomas was raised by his mother who raised ten children on her own after his father's death in a car accident.[1]Thomas grew up with his family on welfare and living in housing projects in the small town of Republic, in Southwestern Pennsylvania.[1] The housing project (Dunlap Creek Village Projects) was located in a neighborhood marred by crime and violence.[citation needed] Thomas' mother emphasized sacrifice and education and helped instill in Thomas a strong desire to earn an education and realize his goals in life.[citation needed]

Thomas earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington & Jefferson College in 1991 and a Juris Doctor from Temple University in 1994.[1] He became an assistant state public defender in Miami-Dade County in 1994 and was selected to become an assistant federal public defender in the Southern District of Florida in 1997 where he represented defendants in all types of complex cases (including drug conspiracy, Hobbs Act robbery and fraud) in federal court.

Judicial Service[edit]

In 2005, Thomas was elected to be a judge on the Miami-Dade Circuit Court, where he has presided over both civil cases (including complex medical malpractice, business litigation, tobacco litigation, eminent domain, wrongful death) and criminal cases (including death penalty, murder, robbery, rape).[2] In the 2011 Judicial Elections, despite other incumbent judges drawing opposition, Judge Thomas was re-elected without opposition.

District Court Nomination[edit]

On November 14, 2012, President Barack Obama nominated Thomas to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida[3] to replace U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan whose nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit was approved in February 2012.[4] Thomas is openly gay.[5] If confirmed, Thomas will be the first out gay African American man to serve as a federal judge.[2] On January 2, 2013, his nomination was returned to the President, due to the sine die adjournment of the Senate.

On January 3, 2013, he was renominated to the same office. His nomination is currently pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee. On September 19, 2013, Senator Marco Rubio announced that he would not return his blue slip for Thomas, effectively preventing the possibility of a hearing or confirmation vote,[6] even though Rubio had suggested Thomas for the post in the first place.[7] Thomas' nomination was returned to the President due to the sine die adjournment of Congress on January 3, 2014. President Obama has decided not to submit Thomas' nomination a third time.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Alumnus Nominated to Federal District Court=". Washington & Jefferson College. November 30, 2012. Archived from the original on December 7, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Weaver, Jay; Rothaus, Steve (November 14, 2012). "Openly gay Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William L. Thomas nominated as federal judge". Miami Herald. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  3. ^ "President Obama Nominates Seven to the United States District Courts". WhiteHouse.gov. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  4. ^ Turner, Jim (November 14, 2012). "Obama Taps William L. Thomas for Federal Bench in South Florida". Sunshine State News. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Openly Gay Miami-Dade Judge Nominated As Federal Judge". CBS Miami. November 14, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  6. ^ Alex Leary, Times Washington Bureau Chief View all Articles (2013-09-19). "Rubio releases hold on African-American judicial candidate but continues to block another | Tampa Bay Times". Tampabay.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  7. ^ "Rubio’s cravenness on proud display". www.msnbc.com. NBCUniversal Media LLC. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  8. ^ White House Gives Up On William Thomas, Gay Black Judicial Nominee Blocked By Marco Rubio

External links[edit]