Fla. Gov. Scott appoints few black judges

Jan. 21, 2013 at 3:55 PM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott is on a pace to appoint fewer African-Americans to state judgeships than his two predecessors, angering black legislators.

"There's a sentiment in the black legal community that we need not apply because we don't think like you," Rep. Darryl Rouson, a St. Petersburg Democrat told Scott, a Republican, at a roundtable meeting with black legislators in Tallahassee, Fla., last week.

In his two years as governor, Scott has made 91 judicial appointments. Only six are black, including the reappointments of three judges who handle cases involving benefits to injured workers, The Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times reported Monday.

At the meeting Scott said he is limited in his choices by recommendations he receives from local judicial nominating commissions. He said he is trying to improve the diversity of Florida's judicial panels but would not appoint activist judges.

"If an applicant, I don't care who they are, believes in judicial activism, I'm not going to appoint them," Scott told the group.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush also decried activist judges and sought "interpreters of law, not creators," but 10 percent of his appointees were African-American. His immediate predecessor, Gov. Charlie Crist, appointed 15 black judges in his four-year term, the report noted.

Bush is a Republican, Crist, now a Democrat, was a Republican when he was governor.

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