The Politics of Merit Selection in Florida

March 11, 2013

According to news reports, a “left-wing group founded last year to campaign for the retention of three Florida Supreme Court justices” is now trying to block the potential appointment of a conservative named Alan Forst, who was among the slate of nominees proposed for the Florida 4th District Court of Appeal.  Yes, the same group that last fall decried the influence of politics on judicial selection is now actively campaigning against a nominee put forward by the “merit” commission.

The alleged source of Forst’s unfitness for the bench is that he never served as a trial court judge.  But a “high-ranking government attorney” called that excuse “hypocritical” because none of the three justices the group supported for retention last year had “any judicial experience before they were appointed to an appeals court.”  In fact, “none of the last five chief justices of the Florida Supreme Court had ever served as trial court judges” – so that explanation doesn’t hold water.  The real problem is that Forst is a member of the Federalist Society who once worked for Clarence Thomas.

So here we have the truth about “merit” selection stripped bare. The whole system is designed to keep conservatives off the court by giving left-wing state bar associations and trial lawyer groups control over the nominating process.  And, in the unlikely event that a conservative slips through, the “merit” selection goons and their media allies will pull out all the stops to kill his/her appointment. Yep, nothing political about that process.  These guys give hypocrisy a bad name.

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