Governor Ron DeSantis has made his third Florida Supreme Court appointment in as many weeks. Attorney Carlos Muñiz — no stranger to Florida government — is the Court’s newest justice.
Muñiz has never been a judge, but has served in high-level state government roles. The Yale Law School graduate has been former state attorney general Pam Bondi’s chief of staff, and deputy general counsel for former Governor Jeb Bush. Most recently, Muñiz served as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Education. He was appointed by President Donald Trump.
DeSantis says Muñiz comes highly touted by former employers.
“When you ask them about Carlos, the praise is effusive. Governor Bush said he is one of - I think he maybe even said the smartest guy that ever worked for him in eight years,” DeSantis said outside the Governor’s Mansion Tuesday.
Like DeSantis’ other Supreme Court picks, Muñiz spoke of the importance of following the Constitution while accepting the job.
“The role of a judge is to preserve the Constitution, not to add to it or subtract from it,” Muñiz said. “I believe strongly in judicial independence – but judges have to earn that independence through their fidelity to the Constitution.”
Florida’s Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo is ripping DeSantis’ pick. In a news release, Rizzo says Muniz “has no judicial experience,” and “instead comes with a long political resume.” Rizzo is accusing the Governor of stacking the courts with his political allies.
Meanwhile, Muñiz says he is looking forward to leaving the politics behind.
“In my new role, I will have a solemn duty to set aside my own policy preferences,” Muñiz said. “I wholeheartedly welcome that obligation.”
DeSantis isn’t bothered by Muñiz never having served as a judge.
“To bring somebody who’s coming as a practitioner into the court, I like the way that meshes with the people who are there, and the experiences that they’ve had. And, I think Carlos has done law at the highest level,” the Governor said.
Earlier this month, DeSantis named Justices Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck to the state’s highest court.