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No More Black Justices on FL Supreme Court

By George Khoury, Esq. on December 18, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

When the New Year rolls around, the Florida Supreme Court will be making history, and not in a good way. The state's high court will, for the first time in over 35 years, be without an African American justice on the bench.

Apparently, this year is Justice Peggy Quince's last year, as she has hit the retirement age, and she is the lone African American justice on the bench right now. Surprisingly, despite this information being known well in advance, no black candidates were selected for the short-list to be passed on to Governor-elect Ron Desantis for appointment.

Diversity on the Bench

While every judge is likely to claim that they do not harbor biases based on race, sex, nationality, or religion, a lack of diversity on the bench harms the public's confidence in the judicial system. If the populace does not see themselves reflected by the judiciary, the justice system suffers.

Blame Rick Scott

Notably, Governor Rick Scott has not appointed any African American judges to the state's high court during his time as governor and is being blamed for the position Governor-elect Desantis will be put in. Scott appointed the members of the committee tasked with advancing judicial nominations, and while about 10% of the applicants were black, none were selected to be on the short list of 11 that will be advanced to Governor Desantis for appointment, and Desantis is bound to choose from that list.

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