The NAACP asked the Florida Supreme Court to lift a veil of legal secrecy from the system for choosing appellate judges Monday, saying minority applicants for the bench aren’t getting fair consideration. The Tallahassee Democrat says the organization filed a “friend of the court” brief on behalf of Gov. Charlie Crist, who has been sued by a retiring judge who demands that the governor name his replacement. Crist rejected a list put forth by the Judicial Nominating Commission for the job, asking the panel to reconvene and consider sending him minority applicants.
Tallahassee attorney Chuck Hobbs, representing the state NAACP, said in his brief to the court that three blacks were among the 28 applicants for the judgeship. He said the Daytona Beach appellate court, which has a district including Orlando and the Space Coast, has no black or Hispanic members – although the region has a high minority population. Unlike most government bodies, the JNCs operate in secrecy and Hobbs said not even the governor can find out why some judicial nominees are chosen and other applicants are passed over. He said four white men and two white women were nominated to succeed the retiring judge.