Could Crist's Love of Diversity Leave The Supreme Court Balanced?

Categories: Politicks
Justices of the Florida Supreme Court.jpgCharlie Crist is in the unprecedented position of chosing his third supreme court justice in his first term, with a fourth pick coming up in March. Four picks for a Republican Governor would, of course, swing the balance of power on a bench that conservatives have derided for years as one of the most liberal and activist State Supreme Courts in the nation.

Crist's first two picks were both right wing white men, but he seems keen to add more diversity. Crist is limited to picking his nominees from a 3 to 6 name list submitted by the non partisan Judicial Nominating Committee. He recently sent back their latest suggestions because the names included no African-Americans, only one Latino, and one woman.

The supreme courts' only current non-white dudes are white lady Barbara J. Pariente, and current Chief Justice, black lady, Peggy A. Quince.

Crist's first appointments were generally seen as conscessions to the more extreme factions of the right wing.

So here's the question: Will Crist be able to satisfy both his seeming need for diversity and his record for pleasing the right wing in one candidate? Will the nominating committee give him that chance? Or will Charlie have to settle for a minority pick who is more moderate, leaving the court with a balanced ideological view? Even that will be a big change in direction for the bench, but its better than a decidedly right wing majority.

--Kyle Munzenrieder
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