When Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio withdrew the hold he had on Circuit Court Judge Brian Davis' nomination to the U.S. Middle District Court, it opened the door for Davis to be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and then by the full Senate.
When he received the news, I suspect that Davis truly exhaled for the first time since February 2012, when he first was nominated by President Barack Obama.
Rubio originally supported Davis' nomination and joined with Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson to introduce Davis to the Judiciary Committee.
But, when Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the committee, came out against Davis, Rubio wavered and the Senate adjourned without confirming Davis.
What was Grassley's reasoning for opposing the judge?
Davis, he said, "views the world through a lens that I think is inappropriate and unacceptable for a federal court judge."
Grassley tried to portray Davis as someone with a racial bias toward African-Americans.
To me, it was pure hogwash.
Davis, a Princeton graduate and former chief assistant state attorney, became a Circuit Court judge in 1994 and by most every measure, he has been an outstanding jurist for the past 19 years.
Even more important, there is overwhelming testimony all over Northeast Florida that Davis is an outstanding human being, particularly as a strong advocate for children.
Because of the long delay, Davis was forced to run for re-election in Nassau County last fall, a race he easily won against opponents who mostly ran because they thought Davis would have been confirmed during the campaign.
After Obama was re-elected, he immediately re-nominated Davis, along with 32 other candidates who also were not voted on last year by Congress.
Rubio again put a hold Davis and the judge remained in limbo.
Then last week, Rubio's office said, "After thoroughly reviewing the objections to Judge Davis by Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, Senator Rubio has determined that Davis has adequately addressed these concerns, particularly in a letter sent to him on Friday."
Grassley has a habit of opposing judicial nominees supported by members of his own conference. So, when Rubio had a change of heart, it meant Grassley had failed for at least the fifth time to stop nominations for the federal bench supported by fellow Republicans.
When the Davis appointment finally gets to the U.S. Senate, it will need a majority of votes to be confirmed. There are 52 Democrats in the 100-member body.
Only problem, there is still no guarantee. Sometimes, nominees who clear the Judiciary Committee are still held up in the Senate.
While Rubio threw his support to Davis, another African-American Circuit Court Judge, William L. Thomas, nominated by the president to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District, was not so fortunate.
Rubio's office said the senator will continue to oppose Thomas, which means the Dade County judge's chance to serve on the federal bench goes nowhere for now.
Unfortunately, holding up federal appointments to the bench has become political sport in the Congress. Because of that, up to 10 percent of federal judgeships are often vacant.
Putting judicial nominees in the deep freeze is not new. However, reports say that fewer judges have been confirmed under Obama than any administration since President Richard Nixon.
A Crist-Scott faceoff?
It's hard to believe that this time next year we'll be full throttle into the Florida governor's race.
The leading Democratic candidate expected to challenge Gov. Rick Scott is former Gov. Charlie Crist. Both will have plenty of money and the television airways will be filled with millions of dollars of political commercials.
When former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced late last week she would not run, she left the door wide open for Crist, a Republican turned Independent turned Democrat.
He will be a "special guest" this month at a champagne brunch hosted by state Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant.
The wild card remains U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who reports indicate is receiving a lot of encouragement from Democrats to get into the race to block Crist. Many observers believe Nelson, now 71, will remain in the Senate.
One thing is for sure. State GOP Chairman Lenny Curry of Jacksonville looks ready to fight Crist with bare knuckles, if necessary.
After Sink said she would sit out the race, Curry went directly at Crist, saying the former governor "was close political allies with criminals and felons." It was a clear reference to the relationship between Crist and the now-imprisoned Jim Greer, Curry's predecessor as state party chair.
A Crist-Scott faceoff in November will directly compete with the campaigns for Jacksonville mayor and City Council, which come at a very important time for our city.
Nine council members are term limited and at least three others have possibly decided against running. That's 12 of the 19 council spots that could be up for grabs, as well as the mayor's race.
We can't let the overpowering glut of television commercials and media attention in the governor's campaign overshadow such critical races for our city.
A good and rightful thing happened last week for a very good man.