Marco Rubio recommends Obama nominate this lawyer for federal judge – then blocks her when he does
Florida Sen. and former contender for the GOP presidential nomination Marco Rubio recommended Mary Barzee Flores be nominated for a federal judge seat in South Florida.
But after recommending her to President Barack Obama for nomination, Rubio has stonewalled her, the Miami Herald reports.
Mary Barzee Flores, a lawyer from Miami and former state judge, was tapped by President Barack Obama to fill a federal bench vacancy more than a year ago. And while Rubio has only months left before he leaves the U.S. Senate, he now refuses to clear the way for her to be confirmed.
While Rubio has for months blocked Flores, the Herald reports Saturday that for the first time it’s abundantly clear that it’s due to what critics call “extreme political partisanship.”
“Senator Rubio recently returned the blue slip for three judges to fill other vacancies throughout Florida, but he will not return the blue slip on Ms. Barzee Flores,” Rubio’s office said in a statement obtained by the Herald. “Florida has very busy federal courts and Senator Rubio would like to see judicial vacancies filled promptly with consensus picks who can be swiftly confirmed in a period of divided government.”
The statement continued, “During the Obama administration, there has been an unfortunate trend toward the judiciary playing a more active role in policy-making, which is why Senator Rubio would rather see a judgeship remain vacant than to fill it with the wrong person for a lifetime.”
It went on to say Rubio supported confirmation of other Obama appointees because they had clerked for Republican-appointed judges. But Flores has broad support in the legal community from sides of the political spectrum, and some of her supporters called Rubio’s obstruction baffling.
“It’s unfortunate that Mary has apparently fallen victim to the extreme political partisanship that is plaguing federal judicial nominations,” George W. Bush-appointed, former U.S. Attorney Marcos Jimenez told the Herald.
“If Mary Barzee Flores was the ‘wrong person’ involved in ‘judicial policy making,’ why did [Rubio] affirm the selection of his nominating commission and submit her name to the president?” Republican Miami lawyer Tom Spencer told the Herald. “Clearly, some huge pressure was put on Rubio to put the knife into Judge Flores, and Rubio will not reveal the real reason for this hypocrisy. This is precisely why so many Florida Republicans are fed up with Rubio and the corrosive nature of his big money politics.”
The statement provided to the paper by Rubio’s office did not address why he recommended Flores to the president before blocking her confirmation.