Governor files appeal, directs judicial nominating commission to continue work

Applicants will be interviewed on Monday as planned despite circuit judge's ruling to suspend proceedings.

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In response to the order filed on Wednesday from a circuit judge in Tallahassee directing that the proceedings of the 4th Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission be suspended, Gov. Rick Scott’s office filed an appeal of the order and requested a stay of the injunction until a decision in the matter is rendered by the 1st District Court of Appeal.

After the appeal was filed, Daniel Nordby, the governor’s general counsel, advised commission chair Patrick Kilbane to notify the applicants that the nominating process will continue as planned.

Paul Renner
Paul Renner

That means the commission will interview the 18 applicants for the seat being vacated by Circuit Judge Robert Foster beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Duval County Courthouse.

“The JNC will conduct its interviews and send a list of names to the governor,” said Attorney Paul Renner, who is representing the commission.

On Wednesday, 2nd Judicial Circuit Judge Charles Dodson granted a motion by Jacksonville attorney David Trotti to suspend the nomination process, prohibit Scott from accepting any nominees and enjoin him from appointing a judge from the list of nominees to be provided by the commission to replace Foster, whose resignation is effective Dec. 31.

Dodson also ordered Secretary of State Ken Detzner to restore Trotti’s name to the ballot for the Group 6 seat and to the state Division of Elections website as a qualified candidate.

As of Thursday afternoon, no candidates were listed on the website for the Group 6 seat.

At Scott’s direction, the commission published a public notice on May 1 seeking applicants for the vacancy. On May 3, Trotti filed for the seat and paid the $5,843.20 qualifying fee. His name appeared on the elections website as the only candidate for the seat until it was removed, pending the nomination and appointment process.

Trotti also filed a motion in the 4th Judicial Circuit against the commission and its Chairman, Patrick Kilbane to halt the nomination process. That motion was denied May 17 by Circuit Judge Waddell Wallace.

Interviews are scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday in the chief judge’s conference room at the Duval County Courthouse. The proceedings, with the exception of deliberations, are open to the public.