Politics

Marco Rubio's Attack on Charlie Crist's Supreme Court Pick a Solid Half Truth



Much of the analysis in the media about yesterday's Marco Rubio-Charlie Crist debate on Fox News Sunday was spent on Rubio's "slush fund," as the governor put it. But among the other jabs thrown by both sides: that Crist has appointed liberal judges to the Florida Supreme Court.

The attack comes at 1:55 in the video above, when Rubio says, "You appointed liberal supreme court justices to our Supreme Court." Crist called the assertion "astounding."

Is Rubio telling the truth? Not unless you're a far-right activist. And your memory is

short.

During the debate, Crist asked Rubio to explain his attack, and Rubio pointed to Justice James E.C. Perry. When Crist appointed him a year ago, the governor was quick to point out Perry was originally a Jeb Bush appointee to a state appeals court. Liberals called him a moderate, but right-wingers like the Florida Family Policy Council tried to label him as a liberal supported by abortion groups and gay activists.

Truth is, nobody found rulings by Perry to support either side, and GOP activists fought him mostly because they wanted a clear conservative choice, not out of fear of his politics. Bruce Rogow, a Nova Southeastern University law professor, told the St. Petersburg Times that it's unclear which way Perry will lean on the high court. "I think it's so important for everybody to wait and see," Rogow told the paper.

Besides, Rubio said "judges," and Crist's record there is to the right. In 2008, Crist appointed Justice Charles T. Canady, a former Republican congressman and state legislator. Crist later named him chief justice. As a state legislator, Canady was credited with coining the term "partial-birth abortion" and is famous for this quote:

"The only difference between the partial-birth abortion and homicide is a mere three inches."

Whether Rubio really had a "slush fund" may still be up for debate, but on the matter of Crist appointing liberals, Rubio, it seems, had that one wrong.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Eric Barton
Contact: Eric Barton