Without explanation, Gov. Rick Scott rejected all six attorneys nominated by the Florida Bar to fill two vacancies on the Palm Beach Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission.
The Bar received a letter July 14 saying Scott rejected candidates Rosalyn Baker-Barnes and Theodore Leopold, both of Palm Beach Gardens, Sarah Cortvriend of North Palm Beach, Alexcia Cox of Riviera Beach, L. Louis Mrachek of West Palm Beach, and Heidi M. Perlet of Boynton Beach.
The list of experienced attorneys was diverse with two black women, two white women and two white men.
“The Florida Bar board of governors is disappointed the governor did not choose any of the nominees that we very carefully screened and vetted, but that is his prerogative, and we will be promptly responding to his request,” Bar president Gregory W. Coleman said.
The Florida Bar announced late Wednesday that it’s taking applications again for the two lawyer vacancies.
Bar spokeswoman Francine Walker said Scott also rejected a list of JNC candidates submitted for the Second District Court of Appeal.
“The governor has not made all of his appointments. It’s possible he could reject more,” Walker said.
There are a total of 26 JNCs in the state.
The Bar must submit a list of three nominees per vacancy to the governor. The Palm Beach JNC appointees will serve the remainder of a four-year term ending July 1, 2018. The deadline for applications is 5:30 p.m. Aug. 15. Applicants must be practicing attorneys residing in Palm Beach County.
In contrast to the mass Palm Beach rejected, Scott named 27 JNC members statewide on Tuesday, including nine to other South Florida JNCs.
To the Third District JNC, Scott appointed Harout Samra of DLA Piper in Miami; Jeffrey Bass of Shubin & Bass in Miami; and Juan Enjamio of Hunton & Williams in Miami.
To the Fourth District JNC, the governor appointed Rian Balfour of Sheridan Healthcare Inc. in Sunrise, Paul Lopez of Tripp Scott in Fort Lauderdale and Kara Rockenbach of Methe & Rockenbach in West Palm Beach.
To the Miami-Dade JNC, he selected Robert Fernandez of Roig, Tutan, Rosenberg, Martin, Stoller, Zumpano & Bellido in Coral Gables; Sunny Isles Beach City Attorney Hans Ottinot; and Luis E. Suarez of Boies, Schiller & Flexner in Miami.
Adolfo Pesquera can be reached at email@example.com or at (954) 468-2616.