JNCs and Defining Diversity.

Author:Drake, William
Position:Letters - Letter to the editor
 
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Several articles in the June 2018 special edition of The Florida Bar Journal criticize the judicial selection process in Florida. One, titled "A Look Through the Looking Glass ...," draws from an Ohio judge to advocate for the idea that "[j]ustice demands not only equality, but the appearance thereof." The authors assert that the Bar Board of Governors has set forth a "mission" of the Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee "to assist the governor and judicial nominating commissions in discharging their statutory and constitutional duties." It is not clear from the article what this "assistance" mission entails or what authority this committee as an arm of the judicial branch has to "assist" the state's chief executive in his selection, especially since the legislature seems to have given the governor "authority to appoint all commissioners."

The article cites Mallory v. Harkness, 895 F. Supp. 1556 (S.D. Fla. 1995), rejecting a statutory change that required strict quotas of one-third of all circuit court JNC seats be occupied by either a woman or member of a racial or ethnic minority as a violation of equal protection, but the writers do not make a compelling argument for the application of an "appearance" standard in the appointment of JNCs or explain a clear Bar plan for "diversity" that would satisfy equal protection requirements.

Another article in the special edition titled "Rx Warning.," by a former Bar president, argues for continued Bar efforts promoting something described as "representative diversity" in the Florida judiciary.

The author says "[d]iversity generally encompasses both demographic characteristics--including [but not limited to] gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, and...

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