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Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Mary Barzee Flores (S.D. of FL)

Returned to President January 3, 2017

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) blocked a hearing on President Obama’s Feb. 26, 2015 nomination of Mary Barzee Flores to the Southern District of Florida federal trial court. The nomination was returned to the President on January 3, 2017.

Sen. Rubio never submitted his home-state senator “blue slip” that is needed to schedule a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) submitted his blue slip on Feb. 26, 2015, the day of the nomination, which was jointly recommended by both Florida senators based on their bipartisan Florida Judicial Nominating Commission’s exhaustive vetting and Sept. 5, 2014 recommendation that was praised by a Miami Herald Editorial.

In contrast, on Oct. 14, 2015, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced an Oct. 21, 2015 hearing that included a nominee from Sept. 15, 2015, nearly seven months after Barzee Flores.

Mary Barzee Flores was nominated to fill one of an increasing number of U.S. Courts-declared judicial emergency vacancies.

Letters to the Senate from the Dade County Police Benevolent Assoc. and a wide range of former Florida Bar presidents and former State and U.S. Attorneys, supported her nomination.

Sen. Rubio also unilaterally blocked a heaing on the nomination of William Thomas (S.D. Fla.) which was returned to the President on January 6, 2014, and delayed the nomination of Brian J. Davis (M.D. Fla.) who was belatedly confirmed on December 20, 2013.

Sen. Rubio's position was in stark contrast to his many fellow Republican Senators who worked with the Obama White House and filled all court vacancies in their states and those who continued to do so throughout 2016:

Republican Senators from 15 States Urge Immediate Action to Fill Their Judicial Vacancies (CO, FL, ID, IN, KS, LA, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, WI) (Sept. 13, 2016)
(Republican - Colorado, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, North Dakota, Kentucky, Louisiana, Wisconsin) 09/13/16 
Including all 16 Republican senators with nominees on the Senate Floor. Excerpts and links to Senator statements by state

These Republican Senators Want Their Judicial Nominees Confirmed. Majority Leader McConnell Isn’t Listening. (Medium, 08/04/16)
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

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