TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The panel responsible for culling a list of potential jurists for seats on the Florida Supreme Court began accepting applications Monday to replace former justices Robert Luck and Barbara Lagoa.
The Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission is expected to finalize a short-list of candidates for Gov. Ron DeSantis before the end of January. The seats became open last week when the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointments of Luck and Lagoa to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
President Donald Trump in September nominated the pair to the federal court. Meeting by telephone Monday morning, the nominating commission laid out a tentative schedule to begin accepting applications for the vacancies. Later Monday, Joe Jacquot, DeSantis’ general counsel, sent a letter to nominating commission Chairman Daniel Nordby to formally request convening the commission.
One of the Supreme Court picks will have to go to an applicant from the jurisdiction of Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal, which hears cases from Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Both Luck and Lagoa served on the 3rd District Court of Appeal before DeSantis appointed them to the Supreme Court early this year.
The deadline for applications will come sometime in late December, and the commission will conduct interviews in mid- to late-January, the panel decided Monday. The application process is complicated by the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The judicial nominating commission will have 60 days to submit a list of three to six candidates for each opening to DeSantis.
The application deadline is likely to occur on or shortly after Christmas Day, Nordby noted during Monday’s conference call.
“That could be fine,” Nordby said, adding he hoped to “minimize the burden of the holidays.” Nordby also said he anticipates “some difficulties at the end of this year and the beginning of next year,” due to holidays and vacation schedules. DeSantis has said he expects to make the appointments early next year.