1. Sen. Rubio is taking heat about his refusal to issue a "blue slip" for Will Thomas and another African-American judge, Brian Davis, in the Middle District. From the Orlando Sentinel:
One seat in particular, in the Middle District, has sat empty since December 2011 — the result of a fight between President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans over his nominee: Judge Brian Davis, a Nassau County circuit judge.
Though Davis initially had the support of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican recanted more than a year ago, citing concerns about comments that Davis made about two black officials tied to controversy in the Clinton administration.
Davis, who is also black, implied that the two — former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders and Dr. Henry Foster Jr., a nominee for that position — either lost the job, in Elders' case, or didn't get it, in Foster's, because of their race.
"Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have had objections to Judge Davis, and those should be taken seriously and reviewed thoroughly before moving forward," said Brooke Sammon, a Rubio spokeswoman, in a statement this week.
But the Obama administration isn't budging on Davis or its selection in November of Judge William Thomas, a Miami-Dade circuit judge, to fill a slot in the Southern District.
Rubio has withheld support for Thomas, citing — among other issues — a controversial decision by Thomas in January to sentence a hit-and-run killer to less than a year in jail. An attorney for the guilty driver, Michele Traverso, argued that a long sentence would be risky for Traverso, who has a rare genetic disorder. The light sentence angered family members of the victim, bicyclist Aaron Cohen.
A White House spokeswoman said the administration had no intention of replacing the nominations of either Davis or Thomas.
"They are both distinguished judges, combining for nearly three decades on the bench, and the nonpartisan American Bar Association has rated each of them 'well-qualified,'" said Joanna Rosholm, a White House spokeswoman.
2. An important decision from the Second Circuit on securities law:
3. "Small-time Miami actor, wife plead guilty to $15 million Medicare scam" Via the Miami Herald:
Roberto F. Marrero, a bit-part TV actor in such shows as Miami Vice, pleaded guilty Thursday along with his wife and another Miami man to a $15 million Medicare fraud scheme.4. Bolivia official in trouble. From Curt Anderson:
A high-ranking Bolivian National Police official was sitting in a South Florida jail Thursday on U.S. charges that he tried to extort thousands of dollars from the former owner of a Bolivian airline.
According to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court, Mario Fabricio Ormachea Aliaga, 42, flew from La Paz, Bolivia to Miami on Aug. 29 to meet with Humberto Roca, who formerly ran Bolivia's AeroSur airline.
Roca previously had fled to the U.S. to avoid Bolivian charges alleging he provided tickets to what authorities there called anti-government foreign mercenaries. The FBI affidavit said that Roca calls the charges politically motivated and is seeking asylum in the U.S.
Before the meeting with Ormachea Aliaga — whom Roca referred to as the "Colonel" — Roca contacted the FBI on the advice of a lawyer. Agents monitored and recorded their meetings, during which Ormachea Aliaga — the No. 2 official in the national police's anticorruption unit — allegedly told Roca that in exchange for $30,000 "he would drop the charges against (Roca) and charge someone else instead," according to the FBI affidavit.