The former chief of staff for Attorney General Pam Bondi is among the 11 people nominated by the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission for appointment to fill three upcoming vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court.
Carlos Muñiz is one of two finalists who are currently not judges. He currently serves as the general counsel to the U.S. Department of Education.
The nominating commission certified the list of 11 names following a private meeting Tuesday during which they considered the names of 59 applicants.
Governor-elect Ron DeSantis will chose three of those certified candidates to succeed Florida Supreme Court Justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, and Peggy A. Quince. The three justices face mandatory retirement in January, on the same day DeSantis takes office.
“I appreciate the hard work of the Judicial Nominating Commission in certifying this list of talented and highly qualified individuals,” said DeSantis. “Governor (Rick) Scott leaves behind an outstanding legacy of strong judicial appointments while in office. I look forward to his counsel as I work to evaluate each nominee to ensure that the next three justices appointed to the Florida Supreme Court will respect our Constitution and the rule of law and serve our state with distinction.”
Under current law, judges and justices face mandatory retirement at age 70. Voters amended the Constitution earlier this month that will raise the age limit to 75.
In addition to Muñiz, the JNC’s list of nominees to the Florida Supreme Court includes:
- John Daniel Couriel, an attorney with the Kobre & Kim law firm in Miami.
- Jonathan D. Gerber, chief judge of the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, who was appointed by former-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist in 2009.
- Jamie Rutland Grosshans, a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach who was appointed by Gov.Scott earlier this year.
- Jeffrey T. Kuntz, a judge on the 4th District Court of Appeal who was appointed by Scott in 2016.
- Bruce Kyle, a circuit judge in the 20th Judicial Circuit in Fort Myers.
- Barbara Lagoa, a judge on the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami who was first appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2006.
- Robert J. Luck, also a judge on the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami who was appointed by Scott in 2013.
- Timothy D. Osterhaus, a judge on the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee who was appointed to the court by Scott in 2013.
- Samuel J. Salario Jr., a judge on the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Lakeland who was appointed by Scott in 2014.
- Anuraag Singhal, a circuit judge in the 17th Judicial Circuit in Fort Lauderdale who was appointed by Scott in 2011.
“This is an incredibly well-qualified list of individuals certified by the Commission,” commented Attorney General Pam Bondi. “These are brilliant legal minds who would undoubtedly serve our highest court with integrity and distinction.”
The upcoming vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court are significant since they will likely change the ideological makeup of the court. The three outgoing justices, Pariente, Lewis and Quince, represent a more liberal slant on the court.