Judicial nominee Rubio held up nears vote
UPDATE Friday Dec. 20: Davis was confirmed 68-26. Rubio voted yes, as did Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
A judicial nominee Sen. Marco Rubio helped hold up is heading toward a confirmation vote.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today said he wanted to get a vote for Brian Davis, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, before the chamber recesses for the week. "His nomination has been pending for almost two years," Reid said on the Senate floor this morning.
Reid has been using a change in Senate filibuster rules to push through votes on a number of stalled nominees.
Rubio had supported Davis, introducing him at a hearing, but then put a "hold" on him due to concerns Sen. Grassley raised about comments Davis made years ago, including suggesting Joycelyn Elders was forced to resign as U.S. surgeon general because she is black. (background here). Rubio released the hold in September after Davis basically wrote an apology letter.
Another judicial nominee remains blocked -- with virtually no path forward -- by Rubio. That is Miami-Dade Judge William Thomas, who is openly gay and, like Davis, African-American. Rubio has questioned Thomas' involvement in two cases (see here). Grassley has cited, without elaborating, an issue that arose during a background check of Thomas (story here)
On Tuesday, protesters showed up outside Rubio's office in Miami in support and opposition to Thomas.