Our next Manatee County Judge will be selected by Gov. Rick Scott, after being sent the final four from the local judicial review committee.
As a recent citizen sitting in on the selection process, I was dismayed when I approached the chairman to have input into the process with a question to the candidate. I was flatly denied any participation in the process. In fact, after each interview I was told to leave the chambers as “the board” needed to discuss the interview in private.
It’s a club, and the citizens and taxpayers who fund the judiciary aren’t in it. Yet we are supposed to rely on this board to ask the tough questions. I heard none. With folks like developer Pat Neal on the board, it’s hard to image that any of these candidates would be able to hear any of his cases.
The rules are set by the Florida Bar, a nonprofit corporation who dictate the judicial process. This is a red herring by any standards. We the People should be involved in the complete process including public forums on the final candidates. We do not. Lack of transparency and fairness of public input in this process is severely lacking.