Rubio’s Transparent Excuse for Blocking Judge

In 2012, President Obama nominated Florida state Judge William Thomas for a federal judgeship, with the support of Marco Rubio. But then Rubio changed his mind and used an arcane Senate rule to block his nomination from even getting a hearing. Thomas is an openly gay African-American. As Right Wing Watch notes, the excuses he has offered for his change of position are transparently false and absurd.

For months, the senator refused to explain why he was blocking Thomas’ nomination, until finally this summer a spokesperson cited “questions about [the nominee’s] judicial temperament and his willingness to impose appropriate criminal sentences.”

Rubio’s office provided two examples of instances in which they believed that Thomas didn’t impose “appropriate criminal sentences.” In both cases, Thomas imposed the highest sentence sought by the prosecution; in both cases, prosecutors praised his handling of the trials. Rubio’s staff also claimed that in one of those cases, a grisly murder trial, Thomas “broke down in tears” when sentencing the defendant to death; news reports make clear that the judge’s tears came when he was describing the brutal crime. As Chris Hayes put it, none of these complaints “pass the smell test.”

Now, finally, Rubio himself has gone on the record for the first time about why he blocked Thomas’ nomination. In an interview with Michael Putney, political reporter for the Miami-area Local 10 news, Rubio, looking visibly uncomfortable, repeats his office’s talking points about the two criminal cases they allege Judge Thomas imposed insufficiently harsh sentences in. “We are looking for judges that can accurately apply the law, particularly at the federal level,” Rubio said, never quite explaining how Thomas failed to do that…

As Hayes said, it seems like the most likely explanation is that Judge Thomas was merely an “innocent bystander” in Rubio’s desperate race to win back the right-wing support he lost during his short-lived advocacy for immigration reform – an effort that so far isn’t panning out so well.

Bingo. That’s exactly what it is, Rubio pandering to the right wing for political purposes and offering ridiculous excuses to cover up that fact.

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  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Ridiculous Rubio – the moniker fits.

  • machintelligence

    It strikes me that it works better as an epithet tag: Rubio the Ridiculous.

  • tubi

    Marco the Monkey-Brained?

    (Apologies to all monkeys)

  • postwaste

    It is well past time to end this ridiculous practice of “holds”. It is repugnant to democracy that 1% of a body can thwart the rest.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    postwaste @ # 4 – Are you alleging that the junior senator from Florida has a personal “hold” on an openly-gay African-American man?

    This is a job for the National Enquirer!

  • marcus

    Asshole! (Okay, no alliteration but it is succinct.)

  • Michael Heath

    Marco Rubio is a coward.

  • greg1466

    Wait. Did I read that right? A sentence of “death” was not harsh enough?!? Maybe a life sentence of attending Tea Party rallies?