Would a more effective attack be about judicial nominations? Rubio won't give the blue-slip on his own judicial nominee:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) keeps taking heat for skipping out on his Senate duties while he's out on the presidential campaign trail. But he's still effective at one thing in the upper chamber: blocking his own judicial nominee.
Rubio is withholding his so-called "blue slip" from the Judiciary Committee to prevent Florida district judge nominee Mary Flores from advancing. The committee won't let any nominee move forward until it has blue slips -- they're literally blue pieces of paper that reflect a senator's support -- from both of a nominee's home-state senators. Florida's other senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, turned in his blue slip eight months ago. But nothing from Rubio.
The weird part is that Rubio supports Flores. He and Nelson recommended her to President Barack Obama, and the president formally nominated her to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in February. She's now been waiting for a hearing for 242 days, but can't move without Rubio's sign-off. She would fill a seat that's been empty for 532 days, and that court is so overloaded with work that it's considered a judicial emergency.
Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos said the senator "takes very seriously" his role in confirming judges to the federal bench.
"The Senate Judiciary Committee is still conducting a full review of the nominee’s background and record," Burgos said. "After that review is complete, Senator Rubio will make his own determination based on the committee’s review and his own further review."
It's a curious argument given that Rubio himself recommended Flores. It's also a self-defeating one: Turning in a blue slip has no effect on a committee's review of a nominee. A spokeswoman for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee chairman, said Flores' nomination isn't moving because of Rubio's outstanding blue slip and because a committee review is underway.
Republicans have been slow-walking Obama's judicial picks all year, and prolonged "committee reviews" is one way they can keep doing it. The GOP calculation is that Obama will be gone after 2016, at which point a Republican could be in the White House. If they can hold out until then, they can give GOP-picked judges lifetime jobs on the federal bench.
HT Glenn Sugameli