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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Brian J. Davis (M.D. Fla.)

Confirmed December 20, 2013

On Dec. 20, 2013 the Senate belatedly confirmed Brian Davis on a 68-26 vote to fill an emergency district court vacancy after voting 56 YES-36 NO-2 Present to end debate and allow a yes or no vote.

On December 16, 2013, Sen. Reid filed a cloture petition to close debate and allow a vote on Judge Brian Davis' nomination after remarks earlier the same day that "The nominations of Judge Robert Wilkins’ to be a member of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and of Brian Davis of Florida to be a district court judge are also priorities. Mr. Davis’ nomination has been pending for two years."

President Obama nominated state Judge Brian J. Davis to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on Feb. 29, 2012, with the support of both Florida senators. 

At his May 9, 2012 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Judge Davis and another Florida nominee were introduced by their home-state senators Bill Nelson [D-FL] and Marco Rubio [R-FL]. Rubio testified: “One of the pleasant surprises of this job is the quality of individuals who offer themselves for public service, and the quality of individuals who we've been able to forward to the president, to the White House, today being no exception. ... As you can see, their records are pretty impressive, and I encourage you to give them [Mark Walker and Brian Davis] full consideration.”

The Judiciary Committee voted to approve Judge Davis' nomination on June 21, 2012.

Sen. Marco Rubio [R-FL], however, without explanation, blocked a Floor vote on Davis. Rubio also blocked a hearing on another nominee, state Judge William Thomas for the Southern District of Florida, whose November 14, 2012 nomination he also recommended to President Obama.

In September, 2013, Sen. Rubio finally allowed Judge Davis to be listed for a Committee vote, but Sen. Rubio's spokeswoman belatedly said that he would continue to deny Judge Thomas even a hearing to explain and answer concerns. Sen. Rubio's citation of criminal sentences in two cases, including one where Judge Thomas imposed the death penalty, did not reflect detailed letters to Sen. Rubio from those involved in these cases, as The New York Times and a Miami Herald columnist described.

On Oct. 31, 2013, the Judiciary Committee finally approved Judge Davis on a vote of 16-2 (Sens. Cruz [R-TX] & Lee [R-UT]) after Sen. Grassley [R-IA] explained why he was now supporting the nomination.

Davis and Thomas would fill two of the dozens of vacancies that the U.S. Courts have officially declared “judicial emergencies.”

Judge Davis and Judge Thomas were among 33 judicial nominees who were renominated on Jan. 4, 2013 after Republican objections blocked Senate action.

In February 1994, Judge Brian Davis was appointed as a Circuit Court Judge in the 4th Judicial Circuit by Governor Lawton Chiles.  He has been re-elected three times – unopposed twice and receiving 99% of the vote in November 2012.  The Circuit Court is the highest trial level Court in Florida and has jurisdiction over all juvenile, family and probate proceedings, as well as felony criminal cases and civil cases involving disputes of over $15,000.  The Circuit Court also has jurisdiction over the appeals from county court cases as well as certiorari review of local administrative decisions. Judge Davis has been assigned to the civil, family, juvenile, probate, domestic violence, drug court and mental health court benches and have served in both Duval and Nassau counties.

Judge Davis has presided over more than 660 cases that have gone to verdict or judgment.

Judge Davis also was appointed as the first African American Chief Assistant State Attorney in Florida and served in that capacity for the Fourth Judicial Circuit from 1991 to 1994.  He previously worked in the same office as an Assistant State Attorney from 1982 to 1988. 

His endorsements include the National Bar Association (comprised of both Republicans and Democrats), the last 24 Jacksonville bar presidents (both Republicans and Democrats); Law enforcement officials in Jacksonville, Sheriff John Rutherford and State Attorney Angela Cory (both Republicans); and John Delaney, the first Jacksonville Republican mayor and current University of North Florida President, also strongly endorsed him.

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