This afternoon, President Barack Obama nominated out Judge William L. Thomas to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. If confirmed, Judge Thomas would become the second out black federal judge, the first being Judge Deborah Batts of the Southern District of New York who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994.
This breaking news has close ties to Pennsylvania. The Honorable William L. Thomas is a 1991 graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, located in Washington County, PA. While at W&J, he helped create the first student multi-cultural organization, the Cultural Awareness Support Enrichment Group.
Following his undergraduate studies, Judge Thomas went directly to Temple University’s Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia for his JD. He graduated in 1994 and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1995.
After graduating law school, he became an Assistant Public Defender in the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s office. From 1997-2005, he was an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Southern District of Florida. Since 2005, Judge Thomas is currently serving as a judge in Florida’s Eleventh Circuit.
The KSV is working to find out more information from his Pennsylvania roots and will post more information as it become available.