For the first time in 36 years, the Florida Supreme Court will not have a Black judge sitting on the state’s highest court–and Democrats say its mostly outgoing Republican governor Rick Scott’s fault who, the Orlando Sentinel says, appointed a number of Black trial judges but zero appellate judges or Supreme Court justices.
Gov.-elect Ron Desantis will select the new justices from a list of 11 nominees sent to him Tuesday by the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission. None of the nine judges and two lawyers on the nominee list is black, although six of the original 59 applicants were African-Americans.
That means when Justice Peggy Quince’s term ends on Jan. 8, it will mark the first time since January 1983, when the late Justice Leander Shaw joined the court, that the Supreme Court will not have a black member.
Since he took office in January 2011, Scott has not appointed a black judge to a state appellate court, according to a brief filed this month by the TJ Reddick Bar Association, a Broward County-based group that advocates on behalf of black lawyers, judges and law students. The brief was filed as part of a lawsuit challenging the appointment process.
Statewide, 84 percent of Florida’s judges are white, 9 percent are Hispanic, and 6.6 percent are black, the brief said.–Orlando Sentinel
Scott–a close ally of President Trump–squeaked past Bill Nelson in this month’s senate election.