Letters to the Editor

Selecting judges

Re the Sept. 16 editorial, Filling the bench: If the problem is that Florida governors have appointed judges in a discriminatory manner, how can the solution simply be “let governors make the appointments?” I have a better idea.

First, change the law. Today, one need only have been a lawyer for five years to either run or be appointed to the bench. In addition, there is no requirement that candidates have ever tried a case in court. Let’s change that to 10 years of experience to be eligible to be a county court judge and 15 years to qualify for all other judgeships. Life experience should count.

Next, set standards for seeking an appointment through the Judicial Nominating Commissions, which screen candidates for the governor. To be a board certified lawyer, one has to submit to the commissions’ lists of cases tried in front of juries, the names of the opposing counsel and the judge, then pass a difficult test. Why not put some stricter standards on those who can apply to be a judge?

Then the governor will have the wisest and most skilled applicants from which to choose.

Abe Laeser, Miami

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