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Nancy Smith

Carlos Muñiz Named Florida's 89th Florida Supreme Court Justice

January 22, 2019 - 10:45am

Conservative Carlos Muñiz is Gov. Ron DeSantis' third and final choice to replace the three justices who have mandatorily retired on the Florida Supreme Court.

DeSantis, with Lt. Gov Jeanette Nuñez and the Muñiz family at his side, made the announcement during a Tuesday morning press conference on the doorstep of the Governor's Mansion.

In his remarks, DeSantis said, “The court is going to apply the law as written. You may not agree with every decision, but (the justices) are not going to go off on a major tangent. I think that is very good for us. I think that the separation of powers will be strengthened with the newly constituted court.”

“The role of a judge is to preserve the Constitution, not to add to it or subtract from it,” Muniz said. “I believe strongly in judicial independence, but judges have to earn that independence through their fidelity to the Constitution.”

Muñiz, 49, has been called an intellectual and a textualist who believes firmly in the rule of law. 

He was the general counsel for the United States Department of Education. Prior to his appointment, he was employed by McGuireWoods. 

He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. He clerked for José A. Cabranes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Thomas Aquinas Flannery of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Carlos Muñiz
Carlos Muñiz

Muñiz served as deputy attorney general and chief of staff to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and deputy general counsel for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and was said to "demonstrate his commitment to judicial restraint" during that time. He was also deputy chief of staff and counsel in the office of the speaker of the Florida House, and general counsel of the Florida Department of Financial Services. In 2013, Muñiz was involved in the discussions with Bondi that led her to take no action on consumer complaints against Trump University.

He represented Florida State University against a student who accused its quarterback, Jameis Winston, of raping her. The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights investigation into the matter remained open at the time of his nomination.

In response to DeSantis' appointment, William Large, president of the Florida Justice Reform Institute, said, "Gov. DeSantis' appointment of Carlos Muñiz as the 89th justice to the Florida Supreme Court marks a turning point for jurisprudence in Florida. ...

"Mr. Muñiz's appointment, along with the recent appointments of Justices (Barbara) Lagoa and (Robert) Luck, closes the books on the previous majority's record of judicial activism."
 
Concluded Large, "Long after Ron DeSantis completes his service as governor of the State of Florida, his first accomplishment -- restoring the Supreme Court to its proper role -- will continue to reverberate."

Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo responded by bemoaning racial exclusion on the high court. 

“It's extremely concerning that for the first time in decades Florida will not have have an African American justice," she said. "From (the Muñiz) appointment, it's clear that Ron DeSantis has no respect for the rule of the law, and is seeking to stack the courts with his political allies. Carlos Muñiz has no judicial experience, instead comes with a long political resume that includes working for Betsy DeVos' Department of Education and Pam Bondi's Attorney General office. ... Fortunately, we live in a country of law and Florida Democrats will take every step necessary to defend the rights of every Floridian."

Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, released this statement following DeSantis' announcement:

“I am pleased to offer my congratulations to my friend Carlos. Today’s appointment to the Florida Supreme Court is certainly the culmination of his lengthy and distinguished career in public service. I had the opportunity to work closely with Carlos during my service as Rules Chair in the Florida House. I know him to be a brilliant attorney and dedicated family man who will serve our state with great distinction in this important role.

“I appreciated Carlos’ comments today on the importance of restrained government, the rule of law, and respect for the value and dignity of each person. I also applaud his comments on the importance of judicial independence and the commitment each judge must make to set aside personal policy preferences. I commend Governor DeSantis on another outstanding appointment to the Florida Supreme Court.”

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

Comments

Sweet hat-trick!

Florida Supreme CourtLike Page January 22 at 11:52 AM · The Florida Supreme Court has a long tradition of having at least one member who was a practicing lawyer at the time of appointment. That tradition continued Tuesday when Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Carlos G. Muñiz as the 89th Justice since statehood. Past members who first became judges upon their appointment to the state's highest Court have been numerous. They included distinguished names like Charles T. Wells, Raymond Ehrlich, Raoul Cantero, and R. Fred Lewis. Both Alan Sundberg and Arthur England came from legal practice to make groundbreaking changes in Florida's courts by opening them to cameras and greater transparency. Richard Ervin was appointed after a respected career as Florida's attorney general. Muñiz comes to the Court from the U.S. Department of Education, where he was general counsel. Previously he worked as a Florida deputy attorney general and chief of staff to the Attorney General. He also was deputy general counsel to Governor Jeb Bush and a deputy chief of staff and counsel to the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. In appointing Muñiz, Governor DeSantis described him as a "top-flight intellect" who was both brilliant and humble. The Governor also said that Muñiz now becomes the third Hispanic on the Florida Supreme Court in addition to Justices Jorge Labarga and Barbara Lagoa.

Two decades of a leftist tyranny consistently overriding the will of the People is finally over. They were in the pockets of the Democrats and the plaintiff trial attorneys for years.

Separation of Powers; Judicial-Legislative-Executive, See Fla. Const. art. II, § 3 (prohibiting members of one branch of government from exercising “any powers appertaining to either of the other branches unless expressly provided herein”). Canon 1 A Judge Shall Uphold the Integrity And Independence of the Judiciary An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall personally observe those standards so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved. The provisions of this Code should be construed and applied to further that objective. Canon 2 A Judge Shall Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in all of the Judge’s Activities A. A judge shall respect and comply with the law and shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. B. A judge shall not allow family, social, political or other relationships to influence the judge’s judicial conduct or judgment. A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others; nor shall a judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. A judge shall not testify voluntarily as a character witness. C. A judge should not hold membership in an organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin. Membership in a fraternal, sororal, religious, or ethnic heritage organization shall not be deemed to be a violation of this provision. FLORIDA STATUTORY CONSTITUTIONAL “COMMITTED ON OR AFTER.” 1983, Fla. Stat. § 921.001(1) (1983). Once the commission had made its recommendation, the Supreme Court of Florida was to develop a final system of guidelines. These guidelines were to become effective for crimes committed on or after October 1, 1983. Fla.Stat. § 921.001(4) (a) (1983). For crimes committed on or after October 1, 1983 and before October 1, 1994. F.S. 775.082 (8) (a) The sentencing guidelines that were effective October 1, 1983, and any revisions thereto, apply to all felonies, except capital felonies, committed on or after October 1, 1983, and before January 1, 1994, and to all felonies, except capital felonies and life felonies, committed before October 1, 1983, when the defendant affirmatively selects to be sentenced pursuant to such provisions. We will see.

Thank you Terri Rizzo for listing all the reasons Carlos Muniz should make an excellent Florida Supreme Court Justice. Don't you get tired looking at those label boxes? We sure are tired of hearing that the Dems can't seem to think other than in labels that have as its only purpose to make sure we don't forget how different we are from each other. We are more alike than different when we aren't fed a bunch of B.S. skin color analysis by the Liberal Media and Politicians who should know better. Sigh. It creates a fake divisiveness between the races that simply does not exist in real life in this day and age. We have laws that prevent prejudice in every aspect of life. If you don't call out the law breakers if you are being discriminated against, then, you are not exercising your rights. That isn't societies fault. Good grief. Does it ever end?

Florida Democratic Chair Terrie Rizzo (in this instance) typically bowed to her Democrat Party's communal "liberalism" by improperly allowing her "mouth to overrun her common sense" in a totally occasional (and celebratory) venue...

What is this new governor thinking about . . . putting all white people on the Court and to add insult to injury, Mr. Muniz has absolutely no judicial experience. Yet, he will sit on the Court. All we have is a Cuban-American deciding the fate of black Americans. Martin Luther King would have just 'loved' this ! What a disgrace we are here in Florida !

Absolutely NO JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER ... and a committed TrumpNut! Quite a few "disgraceful" things in Florida governance over the last 20 years. This is just another of the many!

1 I would like to think that a Justice would be more than just the color of his skin. 2- Muñiz is not Cuban American, but since you're counting, he appointed two Hispanics and a Jew. 3-More importantly DeSantis' main qualification is that the judges not be political, but constitutionalists. That is good for all Floridians

A lamndmark day for Florida! Such specious comments James. Check the history of judicial appts starting with the majority of Chief Justices of the SCOTUS who were never judges before they were appointed. That is a FACT. Additionally, this Governor in his inaugural address on January 8th, stated emphatically that his appointments to the courts would be about a person’s record and a strict regard for the the United States Constitution and the constitution of state of Florida and applying the rule of law. This is not about race or gender, and if you don’t understand that, you should take an online course from Hillsdale college on the U.S. Constitution. Did you complain about Elana Kagan never being a judge when Obama appointed her to the United States Supreme Court? Carlos Muniz is a fabulous appointment. This is a historic day for Florida. Gov. DeSantis true to his word, has made 3 outstanding appointments.

That is the most inane comment I've heard in a long time. And racist to boot.

Everything is about race with the democrats.

So, now there's a partisan Republican Florida Supreme Court! Ain't that grand? No more namby-pamby objective jurisprudence in this state!

Whether these judges are partisan Republicans or not willnot make a difference. What's important is that all three adhere to the letter of the law, unlike their"namby pamby" predecessors. Democrats SHOULD be worried; the FL Supreme Court will no longer be a liberal rubber stamp but a law-and-constitution-driven jurisprudence.

By the very definition of "partisan" - it'll make a difference - and, possibly, a severe difference! There's absolutely no "letter of the law" when "partisanship" is involved!!!

Comments are now closed.

nancy smith
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