Justice Darrin P. Gayles Is Now America's First Gay, Black Federal Judge
On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Darrin P. Gayles as America's first openly gay, black federal judge. Gayles will now serve as a Florida State Circuit Judge for the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida. He was appointed by Obama after Republican Sen. Marc Rubio refused to confirm another one of Obama's nominations for the same position; the nominee that was not confirmed, William Thomas, was also an openly gay black man. Critics of the decision to block Thomas accused Rubio of being racist and anti-gay.
If racism or anti-gay sentiment was present in Thomas's confirmation hearing, it does not appear to have affected Gayles, who was confirmed on a 98-0 decision.
Gayles is more than qualified for the position, having attended Howard University and law school at George Washington University. Since graduating, he's served as a county judge, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, an assistant district counsel at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and a circuit judge. Now, he will become the first openly-gay, black man to serve as a judge in a federal court. And everyone is excited.
Gayles is one of several nominees Obama has sent to the Senate to be confirmed, and the list makes clear the President's commitment to diversity in the judicial system. According to a White House aid, Obama has appointed more female judges than any other President.