Judicial Nominating Commission

Ammodramus via Wikimedia Commons

A justice watchdog group is calling on the Constitution revision commission to tweak the process that sends new judges to the bench.

Carol Highsmith via Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Bar is taking applications again for openings on five judicial nominating commissions.  The boards help develop a short list of nominees to fill openings on the trial bench.

Gavel
Sal Falko via Flickr

The Florida Bar is calling on Florida Gov. Rick Scott to help bring more racial and ethnic diversity to the state’s judicial benches. Today, a Bar task force released specific recommendations for doing so after surveying lawyers, judges and judicial nominators.

State law says the Florida governor must ensure judicial nominating committees reflect the diversity of residents—but the Bar Task Force report says there’s a long way to go.

Above all, it says, the state should appoint a diversity officer to work with the governor’s office and judicial nominating commissions.

The Florida Bar

With more than 50 vacancies on the boards that nominate Florida judges, a task force is trying to answer the question of how to make the judiciary more diverse. The group aims to help reverse what the Florida Bar calls a “concerning” recent trend: that the state’s judicial nominators have been looking less and less like the overall population.

Should the Florida governor get to remove and replace people from the committees that nominate judges, whenever he wants? A bill that’s passed a House committee would allow just that, and it’s drawing fire from groups including the nonpartisan League of Women Voters and the Florida Bar.

A measure that would let the state’s governor remove a majority of the members of Florida’s judicial nominating commission has passed in the Senate—that’s the commission that helps pick  judges  like the state’s supreme court justices. But Regan McCarthy reports some lawmakers are raising concerns that the proposal could give the governor too much power – letting him ensure the state’s bench is made up of people who “think like him.”