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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio won't meet with Obama's Supreme Court pick



Sen. Marco Rubio recently suggested said he was open to meeting with President Obama's Supreme Court nominee but now says he will not, underscoring the pressure Republicans are under to hold the line.

'Senator Rubio will not be meeting with Judge Garland. He doesn't believe the Senate should move on this nomination in the president's final year, he wouldn't support him, neither of these positions will change, and he sees no point in a meeting," a spokesman told Politico. (The Tampa Bay Times asked Rubio's office about the issue on Tuesday did not get a response.)

Rubio had always maintained the Senate should not take up the nominee but did say he would be open to a meeting. Sort of.

After returning to the Senate on March 17, two days after losing Florida's presidential primary, Rubio told reporters he was "more than happy to talk to anybody." But he added he saw no point. Today Rubio closed off any possibility.

Rubio is feeling it from both sides. On Friday, FreedomWorks issued a statement warning Republicans not to take meetings, saying that would lead to hearings.

"With a few exceptions, Senate Republicans came out strongly against the idea of an election year confirmation to the Supreme Court," the group said. "Most took it a step further by saying that they didn't see the point of even meeting with a nominee. Now, some are changing their tune. By foolishly agreeing to meet with Obama's nominee, Republicans are playing with fire, and they can't blame the conservative grassroots when they get burned."

On Tuesday, Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, participated in an event calling on the Senate to act.

"Two weeks ago President Obama nominated Judge Garland to the court and now it is time for the U.S. Senate to fulfill its constitutional responsibility by holding a hearing on the nomination and voting on it," she told the Times in a statement. "Every U.S. Supreme Court nominee since the 1980s has had a hearing and a vote within 100 days of being nominated. There are 300 days left in the current administration. For the U.S. Senate to stall and delay is really unseemly. There is a saying, 'Justice delayed is justice denied' and the U.S. Senate Republicans are denying justice to serve their own political ends."

[Last modified: Friday, April 1, 2016 3:58pm]


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