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Spiritual leaders to rally at Marco Rubio's office in support of Miami federal judge nominee


Spiritual leaders will rally 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 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.

The group of between 30 and 40 supporters will rally Tuesday outside Rubio’s West Miami-Dade Office, 8669 NW 36th St., at 10:30 a.m.