New Judgeships in Limbo

The Judicial Nomination Commission in Miami is holding up the process of putting 55 new judges on the bench, one of those slated for our area.

The Miami group has filed a lawsuit, asking the Florida Supreme Court to block a new law calling for the election of the new judges.

Panel members say they want the governor to appoint the judges.

The Legislature created the new elected positions this year, and Gov. Jeb Bush let the bill become law without his signature, but the governor says he agrees with the Miami Dade Judicial Nomination Commission, that he should be able to appoint the new judges as outlined in the state constitution.

The Florida Supreme Court will have to act quickly. The qualifying deadline for candidates running for state office falls next week.

Bay County Judge Elijah Smiley has apparently already withdrawn from the race to defend his current seat and is planning to qualify for the new circuit judgeship here in the 14th Judicial Circuit next week.

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