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Obama nominates diverse set of judicial candidates

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama nominated a diverse group of candidates Wednesday to be judges as the White House tries to address concerns from black lawmakers about minority representation on the federal bench.

The White House noted that only one of the five nominees was a white male. One nominee was Florida state judge Darrin Gayles, who would be the first openly gay black man to serve as a federal judge if confirmed by the Senate.

Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, meanwhile, was meeting privately with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. They've complained about a lack of diversity among Southern judges in particular.

The meeting was first reported by Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill and confirmed by the White House, which declined to comment on what was said. The Congressional Black Caucus and several of its members did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Obama chose Gayles after a previous openly gay black nominee, fellow Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas, was blocked by Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio last year and then not resubmitted by the White House.

Obama nominated three others for federal district court judgeships in Florida — Florida state judges Beth Bloom and Carlos Eduardo Mendoza and attorney Paul Byron. Obama also nominated attorney Cheryl Ann Krause to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

The White House also posted a new graphic on its website touting the diversity of his picks, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/judicial-nominations .

Associated Press writer Curt Anderson in Miami contributed to this report.

Follow Nedra Pickler on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nedrapickler

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