Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sen. Marco Rubio faces criticism over holding up South Florida judicial nominee

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum in Washington on Thursday.[Associated Press]

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum in Washington on Thursday.[Associated Press]

WASHINGTON — For months, Sen. Marco Rubio has faced growing complaints over his refusal to advance a South Florida judicial nominee — one he recommended to the White House — and the matter is now certain to languish into the new year, if not longer.

The Judiciary Committee's final meeting of the year takes place next week, and Mary Barzee Flores is not on the agenda. Rubio has not submitted a "blue slip" that would allow her to advance, though he points to the committee vetting process.

"We're not discussing particulars until Judiciary Committee finishes review," spokesman Alex Burgos said. "There's a thorough review of the nomination currently under way by the Judiciary Committee. Once that is complete and reviewed by the senator, we will discuss next steps. We're letting the current step — vetting for a lifetime job — be completed first."

Without a blue slip, Barzee Flores cannot advance.

The spot on the court has been vacant since May 2014 and is considered a judicial emergency, meaning cases are backlogged.

Barzee Flores was recommended by the widely regarded Florida Judicial Nominating Commission. Rubio and Sen. Bill Nelson forwarded her name to the White House, which in February nominated Barzee Flores fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Senators are not bound to support a nominee under JNC rules, though they generally have.

Barzee Flores served on the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida in Miami from 2003 to 2011 and before that had a long stint in the federal public defender's office. She graduated from Miami Law School in 1988.

The Judicial Committee is overseen by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Democrats and activists have accused him of "slow walking" President Barack Obama's nominees in case a Republican president takes over.

"U.S. Courts declared judicial emergency vacancies skyrocketed this year from 12 to 30 because of unjustifiable delays by Sen. Rubio and other home-state Republican senators," said Glenn Sugameli of Judging the Environment.

Rubio's actions have drawn complaints in Florida, including a protest outside his Orlando office in August. "The Sunshine State is in a judicial emergency," read one sign. Rubio's staff cited the committee review.

Grassley has disputed charges that he's playing politics.

Sen. Marco Rubio faces criticism over holding up South Florida judicial nominee 12/03/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 3, 2015 8:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Two girls reported missing in New Port Richey

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Two girls, ages 5 and 16, were reported missing Saturday, New Port Richey police said.

  2. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]
  3. Florida softball returns to World Series; FSU baseball in ACC title game

    Colleges

    GAINESVILLE — Florida defeated Alabama 2-1 Saturday to win the deciding Game 3 of their softball Super Region, putting the Gators in the Women's College World Series for the eighth time in program history.

    ’NOLE POWER: FSU’s Dylan Busby, right, is congratulated by teammate Taylor Walls after Busby’s homer against Duke.
  4. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Christian to win state baseball title

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a perfect 30-0 …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  5. Mayor: Men stabbed after anti-Muslin rant died as 'heroes' (w/video)

    Nation

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Police said Saturday they'll examine what appears to be the extremist ideology of an Oregon man accused of fatally stabbing two men who tried to intervene when the suspect yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim on a Portland light-rail train.

    A sign of thanks rests against a traffic light pole at a memorial outside the transit center on Saturday in Portland, Ore. [Associated Press]