Robin Rosenberg Gets the Nomination; Gay Judge Passed Over

By William Peacock, Esq. on February 28, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The seat was Judge William Thomas's, until it wasn't. He was approved by both Florida senators, vetted, and appeared set for the nomination to replace now-Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Adalberto Jordan. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) had a change of heart and blue-slip blocked the nomination, allegedly due to Judge Thomas's "judicial temperament" and doubt about his ability to hand out fair sentences.

Many believe the move was political, and due to Judge Thomas's sexual orientation.

There won't be a change of heart, it seems, as the district court seat is now set to be filled by Judge Robin Rosenberg (not to be confused with Judge Robin Rosenbaum, who was recently nominated to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals bench after a few years with the district court). She comes to the federal court from the state court bench.

Very Well Qualified

While the circumstances of her nomination may leave some shaking their heads, Judge Rosenberg is an outstanding candidate in her own right. Per the White House's announcement, the Duke Law and Princeton alum has had quite the career so far:

  • 2007 - Present: Circuit Judge on the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida;
  • 2002-2006: Managed ARC Mediation;
  • 2001-2006: Partner at Rosenberg & McAuliffe, PL;
  • 1999-2001: Vice President and General Counsel at Slim-Fast Foods Company;
  • 1997-1999: Partner at Holland & Knight LLP;
  • 1995-1997: Assistant City Attorney for the City of West Palm Beach;
  • 1993-1994: Worked at a nonprofit in the Czech Republic;
  • 1990-1994: Trial Attorney for DOJ's Civil Rights Division;
  • 1989-1990: Law Clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

That's quite the list, isn't it? There's public service, trial work, ADR, nonprofit, BigLaw, boutique, and time on the bench. Now she's come full circle, with a nomination for a seat on the same court where she began her career.

Fun Facts about Judge Rosenberg

Palm Beach Illustrated has a great profile on Judge Rosenberg and her husband, Palm Beach County state attorney Michael McAuliffe. When he ran for office, she couldn't attend any of the election events because of the perceived conflict of interest. (He doesn't try cases in her courtroom.)

And that year in the Czech Republic? The White House called it "nonprofit work," but it was much more exciting than that. The power couple took a year off from their jobs at the DOJ, mere months after Czechoslovakia split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and set up educational programs in the city of Pilsen. McAuliffe set up the nation's fourth law school, while Judge Rosenberg set up a graduate program in public administration.

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