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Memo: Historic Obstruction Preventing Justice For Americans

Senators Chuck Grassley and Marco Rubio among those obstructing judicial nominees

Contact: Matt Sinovic, (515) 423-0530, Mark Ferrulo (850) 321-4874

ST. PETERSBURG -- A research memo released today by organizations from across the country detailed the historic level of obstruction taking place in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and other senators. The memo demonstrates that under the obstructionist leadership of Senator Grassley, the Judiciary Committee is on pace to confirm the fewest number of judges since 1953. In Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio has developed a pattern of judicial obstruction forcing judicial emergencies to be declared by the federal court system due to open judgeships delaying justice for Floridians. 

Click here to read the research memo released today.

In response to Senator Marco Rubio’s role in this historic level of obstruction, the Why Courts Matter Florida coalition released the following statement:

“Despite the urgent need to fill judicial vacancies among Florida’s federal courts, Sen. Marco Rubio is blocking nominations for no reason other than politics. Meanwhile, as long as these judgeships remain vacant the understaffed judiciary builds a backlog of cases, delaying justice for Floridians. 

Senator Rubio’s obstruction has helped slow confirmations to a snail's pace -- the Senate is on track to confirm the fewest number of judges since 1953, according to our research.

The Florida federal courts currently have three declared judicial emergencies. One judicial nominee to the Southern District Court of Florida, Mary Barzee Flores, has been blocked by Senator Rubio for over five months from even having a hearing on her nomination. Delaying justice for Floridians is denying justice for Floridians and is indefensible."

Key Findings from today’s research memo:

The number of judges confirmed is at an historic low under the obstructionist leadership of Senator Chuck Grassley with support from Senator Marco Rubio. Just 5 judges have been confirmed in 2015, far behind the pace of past Presidencies in their seventh year.

Americans have been waiting a total of 28,533 days for judicial appointments to be filled across the country.

Four sitting senators have a combined 17 judicial vacancies in their home states. 12 of those vacancies have been declared emergencies, meaning Americans are waiting for their day in court. While the judicial selection process varies in each state, the collective vacancies are alarmingly high.

The research memo released today was conducted jointly by Why Courts Matter Iowa, Progress Florida, Nevadans for Judicial Progress, and Progress Texas.

The Why Courts Matter Florida coalition is focused on ensuring that the federal judiciary is representative of America’s diverse population and ending the judicial vacancy crisis so that every American can have his or her day in court. For more information visit