Fifty applicants for two seats on Fla. Supreme Court

Chris Amico Jul. 28, 2008, 2:23pm

Florida Supreme Court building

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Legal Newsline)--Fifty candidates have applied to fill two upcoming vacancies on Florida's Supreme Court.

The list includes allies of Gov. Charlie Crist, former legislators and at least one involved in the 2000 presidential recount.

One applicant, Judge L. Clayton Roberts, was then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris' director of elections in 2000. He served as deputy attorney general under Crist, who appointed him to the first district court of appeals after being elected governor.

J. Dudley Goodlette, an attorney in Naples, served in the state legislature until term limits forced him to retire.

Justices Kenneth Bell and Raoul Cantero III announced their resignation from the high court this summer. Bell will leave the bench Oct. 1; Cantero will step down Sept. 6.

Bell represents Florida's first district, covering the northern part of the state. Cantero's seat is at-large, and any of the 50 applicants could fill the position. Both Bell and Cantero were appointed in 2002 by then-Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother. Applications were due by 5 p.m. Friday, July 25.

The Florida Supreme Court Nominating Commission will review applications and submit three names for each position to Crist.

Of the fifty applicants, 27 are already judges in Florida. The rest are a mix of government and private attorneys. Thirteen are already working in Tallahassee, either as judges or lawyers.

The applicants range in age from 39--David R. Herman, general counsel for the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs--to 63--William Bilenky, a lawyer from Brooksville. The Supreme Court has a mandatory retirement age of 70.

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