Calls for Rubio to abide Scalia replacement process grow louder

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The untimely death of ultraconservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, understandably, has Republican Senators like Marco Rubio, also a presidential frontrunner, shaking in their boots.

Ostensibly, they claim a president can't pick a Supreme Court justice or appellate judge during his last year in office. Or something; it doesn't matter, because it's wrong.

But obviously, they are frightened the president will nominate a gay commie-nazi to the High Court, or at least someone who won't bow to corporate overlords or let their personal videos of the nature of existence cloud their judgment.

Progressive groups in Florida and elsewhere are calling B.S.

In a written statement, Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo points out how odd it is that Rubio claims appointments can't take place within the final year of his term when Rubio has been blocking the president's judicial appointments for quite some time.

Take Mary Barzee Flores, whom Obama nominated to "fill an emergency vacancy" in South Florida last year.

"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," Ferrulo said in a written statement.

Ferrulo called the apparent attempts at obstruction a "slap in the face" for Americans who depend on a fully functioning Supreme Court, and noted how Senate Judiciary Committee, under the leadership of Iowa Senator Ted Grassley, has seen a historically high amount of obstruction against President Obama's judicial nominees.

In Florida, there's an added layer of hypocrisy: the fact that Republicans supported an amendment that would have allowed Governor Rick Scott to stack the Florida Supreme Court with conservative justices in the final days of his term should he have not been reelected.

"There was not a single Republican member of the legislature that voted against placing it on the ballot," Ferrulo said.

The D.C.-based Americans United for Change also weighed in Wednesday with a cheeky video and written statement imploring Rubio to do his job.

“The Republicans promising to keep a seat on the highest court in the land empty until God knows when in 2017 seem to believe the Constitution only applies to them when it’s politically convenient. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say the President should refrain from exercising his or her authority to fill a Supreme Court vacancy when it’s an election year," Brad Woodhouse, the organization's president, said in a written statement.

He posited that if Mitt Romney were president right now, this conversation would not be taking place, and notes that President Reagan nominated Justice Anthony Kennedy to the Court in 1988, that president's final term, a little detail on which many Senate Republicans appear to be in denial.

"Any Republican that says there’s no precedent for confirming a Supreme Court nominee during an election year obviously hasn’t bothered to Google it," Woodhouse said. "The fact is six Supreme Court Justices have been confirmed in presidential election years, including three appointed by Republican Presidents."

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