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Florida Democrats create panels to screen judicial nominees"

by Gary Fineout | Politico

As published by Politico (03/04/2021)

WEIGHING IN — With President Joe Biden now in the White House, Democratic members of Florida's congressional delegation is setting up a new process to screen potential candidates for vacant U.S. attorney, U.S. marshal and federal judge positions in the Sunshine State.

Rep. Alcee Hastings and Debbie Wasserman Schultz will announce the creation of the three new screening panels on Thursday, one to cover each federal judicial district in the state. “These screening conferences bring together strong legal and judicial experience from all over our state, and they will be critical in advising Florida lawmakers as we evaluate candidates for some of the most important jobs in Florida," Hastings said in a statement. "I thank each member of these screening conferences for their willingness to serve such a vital role."

Florida used to have a committee that would screen potential judicial candidates and recommend candidates to the state’s two senators to submit to the president for consideration. But that ended once Sen. Rick Scott took office.

 

The new panels set up by House Democrats — and which will include some former judges as well as former State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente — will recommend candidates to both the White House as well as Florida’s two Republican senators.

The Screening Conference in the Northern District of Florida will include: Thomas J. Brown, Bill Cervone, Retired Judge Nikki Ann Clark, Opal McKinney-Williams, John Laurance Reid and Mark Schlakman.

The Screening Conference in the Middle District of Florida will include: Ryan Barack, David M. Chico, Eduardo Fernandez, Joseline Jean-Louis Hardrick, Retired Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., Wade Rolle, Carol Saviak and Patricia R. Sigman.

The Screening Conference in the Southern District of Florida will include: Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz, Larry Handfield, Retired Judge Ilona Holmes, Eduardo Lacasa, Victoria Mesa-Estrada, Burnadette Norris-Weeks and Pariente.

“The wisdom, expertise and insight of these screening conference members will be critical for filling these vital judicial system positions with competent and experienced professionals," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

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