Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady will become chief justice for two years starting in July, the court announced Thursday.
Canady, 63, already served as chief justice from 2010 to 2012. The position rotates, although current Chief Justice Jorge Labarga is finishing his second consecutive term. The chief justice is chosen by the justices based on managerial, administrative and leadership abilities rather than seniority, according to the court.
“I look forward to continuing to serve the people and the judicial branch,” Canady said in a statement. “I have worked with so many outstanding Florida public servants for many years now, including my fellow justices. I thank them for their trust in me and look forward to the work ahead.”
Canady, a former Republican congressman, is also on President Donald Trump’s shortlist for a U.S. Supreme Court seat. The justice is credited with coining the term “partial-birth abortion” during his eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before that, he was a member of the Florida Legislature.
When Canady left Washington in 2001, he became general counsel to then-Gov. Jeb Bush, who later appointed him to the Second District Court of Appeal. He joined Florida’s highest court in 2008.
Canady is a Yale Law School graduate who received his undergraduate degree from Haverford College in Pennsylvania.
Canady’s term as chief justice will include the exit of three of his colleagues, Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince. The trio will leave the seven-member court in January 2019 after reaching Florida’s mandatory retirement age of 70. Gov. Rick Scott has said he plans to appoint three new justices on his way out of office.
The chief justice leads the state’s judiciary, oversees initiatives to improve the state court system and builds relationships with the executive and legislative branches.
Labarga’s projects include increasing access to justice for low-income Floridians and making the court system’s work more visible through social media and a podcast. He also advocates for expanded court budgets. Last year, the state’s judges received their first pay raise in a decade.