Florida Why Courts Matter coalition on Sen. Marco Rubio’s threat to obstruct President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee

“The calls for judicial obstruction by Rubio and leading Republicans are a slap in the face to Americans who depend on a fully functioning Supreme Court to interpret laws that profoundly impact citizens’ lives each day – but they are nothing new.”

February 17, 2016
Contact: Damien Filer / 850-212-1858 / Damien@ProgressFlorida.org

Top Republicans including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio have vowed to block President Obama’s nomination to replace Justice Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court, with Rubio declaring, “We are not moving forward with a Supreme Court nominee.” Rubio and others have argued that Obama should not fill court vacancies during his final year in office, but their threats don’t pass the smell test because Senate Republicans including Rubio have been holding up nominations throughout Obama’s tenure.
Statement from Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo:

“This month marks an entire year since President Obama nominated The Honorable Mary Barzee Flores to fill an emergency vacancy in the Southern District of Florida. Despite the urgent need to fill this vacancy – and Sen. Rubio’s initial support for Flores’ nomination – Sen. Rubio has refused to sign the ‘blue slip’ necessary for her to receive a confirmation hearing. Since Rubio and his GOP colleagues have argued that President Obama shouldn’t be allowed to fill the Supreme Court vacancy during his last year in office, one wonders what Rubio’s rationale has been over the past year for obstructing the judicial emergency in the Southern District.
“The calls for judicial obstruction by Rubio and leading Republicans are a slap in the face to Americans who depend on a fully functioning Supreme Court to interpret laws that profoundly impact citizens’ lives each day – but they are nothing new.
“A research memo released last year by the Florida Why Courts Matter Coalition and other 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). The memo demonstrates that under the obstructionist leadership of Senator Grassley, the Judiciary Committee was on pace to confirm the fewest number of judges since 1953 (it is currently on its slowest pace since 1960). In Florida, Sen. 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.
“Rubio’s flimsy argument for obstructing Obama’s SCOTUS nomination flies in the face of the Republican Party of Florida’s push for Amendment 3 in 2014. Though ultimately rejected by voters, Amendment 3 would have allowed Gov. Rick Scott to pack the Florida Supreme Court with judicial appointments toward the end of his second and final term. There was not a single Republican member of the legislature that voted against placing it on the ballot.

“The Florida Why Courts Matter coalition is calling on Sen. Rubio to help ensure all federal court nominations, including Justice Scalia’s replacement, are confirmed by the senate in a timely manner.”


The Florida Why Courts Matter 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 www.whycourtsmatter.org.