U.S. Senate

Luck, Lagoa on track to leave Florida Supremes

Florida Supreme Court Justices Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck, en route to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, received a friendly vetting Wednesday by a Senate committee.

President Donald Trump tapped the two Florida justices for the Atlanta appeals court just months after Gov. Ron DeSantis named them to serve on the Sunshine State’s highest court.

“Justices Barbara Lagoa and Robert J. Luck faced little pushback from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee during their nomination hearing Wednesday morning, as they fielded questions about “judicial activism” and how they would approach precedent as members of the federal judiciary,” The National Law Journal reported Wednesday.

If Lagoa and Luck get the go-ahead to join the appellate court, as is widely anticipated, DeSantis will have the opportunity to appoint two new state court justices to take their place.

That would put the governor in the rare position of appointing five Florida Supreme Court justices in his first term as the state’s chief executive.

The Judicial Nominating Commission is responsible for delivering a list of names to the governor to fill the vacancies.

But that process won’t kick in until Luck and Lagoa officially leave the bench after being confirmed by the Senate, a process which could drag on until December.

Once the vacancies occur, the JNC has 60 days to give a list of possible replacements to the governor and DeSantis will have an additional 60 days to make his choices.


Watch Bill Nelson rail against health care vote

Florida U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a former state insurance commissioner, urged his colleagues not to repeal the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, but to instead work on a bipartisan fix.

Nelson’s comments on the floor came before Senate Republicans approved a measure that would advance floor debate on the repeal-and-replace proposal.

Nelson: Trump elex info request would make it “so easy for Vladimir” to hack

Concerned about President Donald Trump’s elections inquiry, voters are asking county supervisors to yank them from the rolls, ostensibly more concerned about keeping their personal data private than giving up their rights to cast ballots.

The whole effort is on hold right now, at least until a judge weighs in on one of a handful of lawsuits about the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

NOTE: Secretary of State Ken Detzner hasn’t transmitted any information to the commission yet.

More than 40 states refused to give the commission all or part of the data requested, which included partial Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers.

Speaking to reporters in Tallahassee Friday, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson — who’s been a critic of Trump’s commission — questioned the rationale for demanding the data.

“Why should the federal government collect every state’s information in one place so anybody that wants to go and hack that information? It makes it so easy for Vladimir (Putin) to suddenly go in and find out all kind of personal things and all in one place,” Nelson said when asked for his thoughts on the elections commission.

“Let me tell you, only the most sophisticated systems — and even they’re not fool proof — cannot be hacked. Only the most sophisticated systems. And I’m telling you, you think yours is foolproof, somebody’s going to get a way to get through,” Nelson said. “This is true in our most important secrets in the country. In our intelligence community, they’re having that problem.”

Rubio and Trump — a budding bromance?


It wasn’t that long ago that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was openly bashing Donald Trump.

But that was when the two Republicans were competing for the White House.

Now that President Trump is comfortably ensconced there, has Rubio changed his views of his onetime foe?

Alex Conant, the former Florida House speaker’s former aide and current advisor, talks with NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition about his pal Rubio’s evolving approach to trump.

Listen to the interview here.

Scott still silent on Senate run

The president may be urging him to make it official, but Gov. Rick Scott is remaining mum about whether he’ll jump into the race for the U.S. Senate.

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 7.38.28 AMAsked about a 2018 run by Erin Burnett, anchor of the eponymously named CNN show Erin Burnett OutFront, Scott said yesterday his focus remains on his current job.

“I’ve always said the same thing. It’s 2017. The race is in 2018. I won’t make a decision until later,” Scott said. “Politicians seem to worry about their next job. I’ve got like 570 days left in this job.”

Burnett raised the question because President Donald Trump tried to put his pal Scott on the spot Friday while they were in Miami announcing the president’s policy on Cuba.

“He’s doing a great job. Oh, I hope he runs for the Senate,” Trump told the crowd. “I know I’m not supposed to say that. I hope he runs for the Senate. Rick, are you running?”

Scott remained silent on Friday.

On Monday, during the CNN appearance, he didn’t get to discuss his economic-development trip to Connecticut or the pending impact of a tropical system brewing off the Florida Panhandle.

Burnett turned to Scott with questions about allegations of Trump’s taping conversations in the White House — “I have no idea,” Scott said — and the president’s Twitter usage.

“I think he’s out trying to get his message out,” Scott said of Trump’s tweets. “He’s used it to get his message out. When I’m around him, I’ve talked to him about health care, about Cuba. I was there a week-and-a-half ago about infrastructure. He’s very engaged in the issue of the day.”

Burnett corrected Scott when he offered the line that Trump has “100 million Twitter followers.”

CNN estimates Trump has about 32.4 million followers to his main Twitter account, while across all social media his reach touches 87 million followers.

Posted by Jim Turner