Supreme Court sends Rick Scott judicial appointment dispute to lower court

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The Florida Supreme Court ordered a lower court to resolve a dispute over whether Gov. Rick Scott should appoint a circuit judge in Northeast Florida — or leave the choice to voters.

Jacksonville attorney David Trotti filed a petition April 29 with the Supreme Court seeking to decide the issue.

Trotti intended to run for the 4th Judicial Circuit judgeship currently held by Circuit Judge Donald Moran, which covers Duval, Clay and Nassau counties.

On March 26, Moran sent a letter of resignation to the governor, effective Jan. 2, 2015. Scott accepted his resignation, and the state Division of Elections acknowledged Scott could appoint a replacement, instead of putting the seat on the ballot in November.

Trotti qualified to run in the race to succeed Moran. However, after Moran submitted his resignation, the Division of Elections told Trotti him he was no longer a candidate since the judgeship is not on the ballot for 2014.

Trotti filed an emergency petition with the Court asking justices to direct the Division of Elections to reopen the election. His argument is that voters, not the governor, should fill the vacancy.

On Thursday, justices issued a brief order transferring the case to the Leon County circuit court.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.