Tuesday, October 23, 2018
  • The Buzz
  • From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Six local judges vie for Florida Supreme Court vacancies

Six judges who handle cases in the Tampa Bay area are being considered to fill three upcoming vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court.

The vacancies are a result of the impending departures of Justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince, who all hit the mandatory retirement age of 70 and will leave the court in January.

Gov. Rick Scott, whose term is up in January and who is challenging U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, has asserted his right to appoint new judges on his way out the door. A lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause of Florida contesting Scott's right to make the appointments is being considered by the Supreme Court.

READ MORE: Rick Scott orders panel to screen nominees for Supreme Court

READ MORE: Lawsuit filed (again) over Gov. Scott appointing justices to state supreme court

The Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission, which is stacked with Scott allies, will consider on Thursday the list of 59 names, comprised mostly of circuit and appeals judges as well as private attorneys from across the state. The commission will decide who from the list advances in the process.

The list of local names includes:

■ Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Michael Andrews: Became the youngest judge in Florida when appointed to county judge in 1997 and has been a circuit judge since 2003.

■ Second District Court of Appeal Judge J. Andrew Atkinson: A former assistant general counsel to the government who was appointed in January.

■  Hillsborough Circuit Judge Laurel Lee: A former federal prosecutor and wife of Florida Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa. She was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott in 2013.

■ Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Thomas Ramsberger: After 24 years working in commercial law, litigation, probate and family law, ran unopposed for the bench in 2012.

■ Second District Court of Appeal Judge Samuel Salario Jr.: A former attorney for Carlton Fields and whom the governor appointed to the 2nd DCA in December 2014.

■ Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa: Spent 11 years as a prosecutor before being elected to the bench in 2006.

Here's the rest of the list:

■ Ross Bilbrey

■ Alexander Spicola Bokor

■  Amy Brigham Boulris

■ Jeffrey Leonard Burns

■ Hunter Carroll

■ Howard Coates Jr.

■ John Daniel Couriel

■ Angela Jane Cowden

■ Cynthia Cox

■ James Daniel

■ James Scott Duncan

■ Manuel Farach

■ Jonathan Gerber

■ Bryan Scott Gowdy

■ Jamie Rutland Grosshans

■ Edward Guedes

■ Bradley Harper

■ Terrance Ketchel

■ Mark Klingensmith

■ Jeffrey Kuntz

■ Bruce Kyle

■  Barbara Lagoa

■ Norma Lindsey

■ Robert Long Jr.

■  Robert Luck

■ Mark Mahon

■ Scott Makar

■  Michael Patrick McDaniel

■ Mark Miller

■  Carlos Genaro Muniz

■  Patrick  O'Byrne Haden

■  Timothy Osterhaus

■  Eric Roberson

■  Clayton Robe1is

■  William Roby

■  Cymonie Rowe

■  Tatiana Radi Salvador

■   Leonard Samuels

■   Edwin Scales III

■   Stephen Senn

■   Anuraag Singhal

■  Jonathan Sjostrom

■  Elijah Smiley

■  Donna Greenspan Solomon

■  Adrian Soud

■  John Stargel

■  Anthony Michael Tatti

■   Matthew Thatcher

■  Kemmerly Thomas

■  William Thomas

■  Daryl Trawick

■  Waddell Wallace III

■  Thomas Winokur

Comments
‘There are no shelters in Mexico Beach’: Among last words from Hurricane Michael victim

‘There are no shelters in Mexico Beach’: Among last words from Hurricane Michael victim

In the final hours before Hurricane Michael crumbled her Mexico Beach home around her, Agnes Vicari was on the phone with her niece with a promise."I made a mistake. I won't make a mistake again," she told Joanne Garone Behnke the morning the storm h...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Joe Biden in Tampa says it’s not a time to joke: ‘We’re in the battle for the soul of America’

Joe Biden in Tampa says it’s not a time to joke: ‘We’re in the battle for the soul of America’

TAMPA — As vice president, Joe Biden leaned in to the goofy "Uncle Joe" caricature of memes and satirical news stories. He wore aviators for the cameras while eating ice cream, and pointed and grinned behind President Barack Obama during nation...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rick Scott campaign: Our polling shows Scott up 5, Ron DeSantis up 3

Rick Scott campaign: Our polling shows Scott up 5, Ron DeSantis up 3

The Rick Scott campaign today sent supporters the following memo about its internal polling. We're not vouching for these numbers any more than we are for the latest Quinnipiac poll showing Bill Nelson up 6 percentage points. Always wise to...
Published: 10/22/18
Bill Nelson leads Rick Scott, 52-46 percent, in Quinnipiac poll

Bill Nelson leads Rick Scott, 52-46 percent, in Quinnipiac poll

A new Quinnipiac University poll in Florida's U.S. Senate race taken after Hurricane Michael shows Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson holding a 6-point lead over Republican Gov. Rick Scott, 52 to 46 percent.A CNN poll released on Sunday had Nelson with a 5-...
Published: 10/22/18
Andrew Gillum, Ron DeSantis release their tax returns

Andrew Gillum, Ron DeSantis release their tax returns

It was a quick but important exchange between Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum during Sunday night's debate on CNN, when Gillum touted the release of his tax returns and accused DeSantis of withholding his.DeSantis then responded by saying he...
Published: 10/22/18
The battle over Florida’s proposed greyhound racing ban has one side accusing the other of employing ‘the worst of modern politics’

The battle over Florida’s proposed greyhound racing ban has one side accusing the other of employing ‘the worst of modern politics’

The most contentious issue of the 2018 election cycle in Florida may have nothing to do with Republican versus Democrat.The battle for Constitutional Amendment 13, which would ban gambling on commercial dog racing in Florida by 2020, has go...
Published: 10/22/18
The Buzz’s Florida congressional vulnerability rankings, pre-election edition

The Buzz’s Florida congressional vulnerability rankings, pre-election edition

It's been about six weeks since we last ranked Florida's congressional seats based on how likely they are to flip control during November's midterm elections.The biggest change in our new rankings is that there are no longer any races rated "highly v...
Published: 10/22/18
Rick Scott denied state played a role in FIU bridge collapse. Records indicate otherwise.

Rick Scott denied state played a role in FIU bridge collapse. Records indicate otherwise.

As Gov. Rick Scott seeks election to the U.S. Senate, the Florida Department of Transportation has consistently distanced the state from a fatal bridge collapse outside Miami — but its explanations have been contradicted as more information bec...
Published: 10/22/18
The political stakes get higher as early voting begins in Florida

The political stakes get higher as early voting begins in Florida

The stakes in Florida's closely-watched midterm election will intensify starting Monday as the state's largest counties provide up to 14 straight days of early voting.In a year in which voter turnout is a key to victory, nearly 1 million people have ...
Published: 10/22/18
DeSantis, Gillum CNN debate marks first meeting, harsh scuffle for Florida governor candidates

DeSantis, Gillum CNN debate marks first meeting, harsh scuffle for Florida governor candidates

Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum had never met before Sunday night's Florida governor debate. It was not the beginning of a beautiful friendship.Rather, it was a nationally televised brawl between the two candidates neck-and-neck in...
Published: 10/21/18
Updated: 10/22/18