After defeating COVID-19 at the age of 90, Florida State’s legendary football coach Bobby Bowden is setting his sights on defeating Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

In a press release on Tuesday, Bowden, who was released from Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare last Thursday after contracting the coronavirus earlier this month, discussed overcoming the virus and urged Americans to vote for President Donald Trump on Nov. 3.

The release reads:

“I want to thank all the many, many people who were thinking of and praying for me over the last few weeks.  I just went through a battle with Covid-19, and God just wasn’t ready to take me Home yet to be with Him.

“Most of you know I’m 91 years old, and the fight was tough.  But thanks to the help of Dr. Michael Forsthoefel, and the support of Ann and all my children, I beat it.

“I’ve had the chance to get a lot of wins in my life, but I really wanted to win this one because I wanted to be around to vote for President Trump.

“I have always said that the only thing you can take to Heaven with you is your kids, and for 71 years of marriage, Ann and I have tried to live our lives and share our Christian Faith with them so that one day we will all be there together.

“But until that time, we are here on earth, and America is the greatest country this side of heaven.  We have the freedom to pursue our faith in God, our dreams for our career, and our love for our families.  For too long now, politicians in Washington have run America down and apologized for our greatness.  I’m tired of it.

“Like President Trump, I had the opportunity to be treated for Covid-19 with drugs to include Remdesivir.  At the age of 91, in many other countries, I might not have even been treated.  In America, I was.

“The one thing that all of us parents and grandparents can do for our children and grandchildren in these next couple of weeks is vote.  We have to get out and vote for President Trump because re-electing him is our only chance to leave the next generation with the same heritage, beliefs, and opportunities that Ann and I had and that many of you had.

“There are about 45 of us Bowdens around.  Most of us live in Florida, and I promise you that almost all of us will be voting for Trump, and the ones that don’t won’t be telling me about it.

“So please, take the time, dadgumit, for the sake of our children and grandchildren, to Keep America Great and vote for Donald Trump.”

Bowden tested positive for the disease on Oct. 3. He will turn 91 on Nov. 8.

The effort to fill the vacancy caused by Justice Ginsburg’s recent passing is not about former President Barack Obama’s unsuccessful nomination of Judge Garland in 2016. It is surprising, then, that Judge Barrett’s detractors seem to oppose her chiefly because they claim that another jurist who had good qualifications was not confirmed by the United States Senate in 2016.

We first dispose of several subsidiary arguments. The claim that the ACA remains at stake in active litigation demonstrates a striking misapprehension of both appellate procedure and the current texture of the Supreme Court. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals held the ACA unconstitutional. A rump Supreme Court would likely deadlock 4-4, leaving this decision in place, and thus dooming the ACA with or without a Justice Barrett.

Nor is Roe v. Wade at stake. Neither the Congress nor any state legislature has passed any measure that does not easily pass muster under existing precedent.
Hypotheticals about the election are even further afield.

Although Judge Barrett’s detractors would reflexively oppose any nominee by any Republican president, they are particularly perturbed by her training under the late Justice Scalia, her resulting moral clarity on protecting the unborn and strict adherence to the Constitution, and her diverse family. Suffice it to say that Judge Garland lacked these qualities, notwithstanding his comparable academic and legal qualifications. Perhaps, then, Democrats are perturbed because Judge Barrett combines Justice Scalia’s intellect and Vice President Pence’s poise and demeanor, rendering her the foremost American stateswoman since at least Elanor Roosevelt.

Even more appalling to Judge Barrett’s detractors is the prospect of another “Republican” justice on a Court that is supposed to be “apolitical.” As the story goes, a half a century of legislation from the bench, dating back at least to Roe v. Wade, all enacted by unelected justices who were striking down legislation passed by elected legislators, and signed by elected executives, is now in jeopardy.

We now turn to the text of the Constitution. Article II, Section 2, states that “[The president] shall have Power, . . . and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States…” The Senate did not consent in 2016. The Senate is expected to consent in 2020. The Constitution says nothing about the timing or process for judicial confirmations and the historical record discloses no clear tradition other than some improvident remarks in 2016. These remarks, like dissenting Supreme Court opinions, or cherry picked historical examples, carry no constitutional weight.

Legislators may not enact laws that cannot be repealed by future legislatures. Nor may they amend the Constitution through speeches in committee or on Sunday talk shows. The President retains the power to nominate and/or confirm a justice at any time before or after any election. The Senate may confirm that justice with or without committee hearings on any schedule it chooses. This analysis, unlike any unfounded notions about election year nominations, finds clear support in the Constitution. See Article 1, Section 5 (“a majority of each [House] shall constitute a quorum to do business. . . . [e]ach House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings.”)

In the last round of nominations to the Florida Supreme Court, a liberal legislator filed a lawsuit because the Governor would leave a vacancy on the Florida Supreme Court for more than the several months. In fact, the critics’ only cogent reason for opposing the nomination was that a rule allowing the Governor to delay the seating of a Supreme Court Justice could create an unacceptably long vacancy and the potential for tie votes, precisely the problem they are causing by calling for delay on the United States Supreme Court. By demanding an intervening election, and denigrating Trump’s attempts to quickly fill the vacancy, Democrats are now undermining the values that they championed only weeks ago. By contrast, Republicans at least waited over four years before supposedly reversing course, and only under very different circumstances.

Constitutional separation of powers transcends politics. The criticism of the timing of Justice Barrett’s nomination process boils down not to what was done in 2016, or how it was done, but what was said at the time. Fortunately, the constitutional separation of powers analysis depends on what was written in Philadelphia in 1787, not on what was said in Washington in 2016. Nonetheless, improvident remarks by those still in power should be retracted or clarified to state that when the Senate opposes the President, an intervening election may break that impasse and spare the country an embarrassing spectacle of a sitting jurist being hectored and then rejected. Judge Barrett’s nomination is constitutional and lawful and should be handled without regard to the timing of the election, the results thereof, nonbinding committee debate, or talk show pontification.

Mike Beltran is a state representative who serves House District 57

This week, we begin looking at some of the state’s most interesting swing seats that could affect the balance of power in the Florida Legislature.  One of the most interesting contests is in House District 103.  Held for years by now State Senator Manny Diaz Jr., last cycle the seat moved left as Cindy Polo defeated the Republican nominee in what some would term an upset.  Many locals credit that to Polo’s relentless work ethic and her willingness to aggressively meet with anyone and anywhere.  The question is whether the approachability and her work ethic will pay off this time.

Polo is receiving a strong challenge from Tom Fabricio, a Republican with an equally strong work ethic who has already built a reputation for street politics second to none.  His social media page lights up every day with new images and reports of door-to-door campaigning.  From the sidelines, this appears to be the Miami street battle well worth the popcorn and coke for all of us watching.

Fabricio is a business attorney, volunteer with at-risk youth, husband, and father of two girls.  His reasons for running are simple as he points to family and community in his advertising and his disappointment over Polo’s outspoken support for the radical left.  Fabricio’s disappointment does seem to have some merit.  From reviewing Polo’s Facebook page and campaign materials. It is clear that she views herself as an up and coming new brand liberal, ready to push the envelope on a big government solution to every problem.  Her aggressiveness and outspoken attacks on Republicans certainly make her look more like her fellow Broward County legislators than someone who represents conservative bastions like Hialeah and Miami Lakes.

In the legislature, Polo has adopted somewhat of a mini-me Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez persona.  She has been willing to mix it up, challenge leadership at every turn, and even vote against key measures for her own constituents in political protest.  In the last legislative session, she even voted against the budget, leaving her open to allegations that she put her own political ambitions and vitriol above that of the interests of her constituents.  Her agenda-based governance style netted a price.  Not one bill she sponsored in the last legislative session saw the light of day.  Every bill died.

What does this all mean for Fabricio?  Maybe nothing.  Maybe Polo goes on to win re-election and uses her constituents as a springboard for a future as a rising liberal radical star.  However, from our interviews with some Democrats in Miami who wished to remain off the record, they worry that Polo’s agenda is self-centered and untrustworthy and that her antics have put retaining the seat at risk for Democrats.

If Fabricio has a shot, it is due 100% to Polo’s harsh approach.

From our vantage point, if you actually take the time to examine the bills that she filed that stepped on the constitution, individual rights, and were part of an attempt to force-feed a liberal agenda, we rate her as Florida’s worst incumbent legislator, and we rate House District 103 as the most interesting swing seat contest in the state.

We will be rating other legislative contests in the subsequent days.

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