WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has nominated out lesbian attorney Staci Michelle Yandle to serve in the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, the White House announced on Thursday.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Yandle — who is currently in private practice — would be the first African-American and first openly LGBT judge to serve in the 7th Circuit, covering Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Obama also nominated Salvador Mendoza, Jr., a county Superior Court Judge in Washington State, to the Eastern District of Illinois, where he would be the first Hispanic judge in that position.
“I am pleased to nominate these distinguished individuals to serve on the United States District Court bench,” Obama said. “I am confident they will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who originally nominated Thomas, has since blocked his nomination from moving forward. A White House official confirmed that the administration was not going to resubmit Thomas’ nomination.
Had Thomas been confirmed, he would have become the first openly gay African-American man to preside at the federal level.