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Daily News Summary

An electronic digest of media coverage of interest to members of The Florida Bar compiled each workday by the Public Information and Bar Services Department. Electronic links are only active in today's edition. For information on previous articles, please contact the publishing newspaper directly.

Dec. 23, 2013

--The Florida Bar--

FLORIDA BAR BOARD OF GOVERNORS ELECTIONS: PRESIDENT-ELECT DESIGNATE, 20 INCUMBENTS RE-ELECTED; 3 NEW MEMBERS ELECTED; 1 CONTESTED ELECTION -- The Florida Bar, http://www.flabar.org, Dec. 20, 2013.
Miami attorney Ramón A. Abadin has been elected without opposition as The Florida Bar’s president-elect designate. Additionally, 20 incumbent Board of Governors members were re-elected without opposition; three new board members were elected; and one incumbent is in a contested race. Abadin will be sworn in as president-elect at the Bar’s Annual Convention in June 2014 when Gregory W. Coleman of West Palm Beach becomes president. Abadin will become Florida Bar president in June 2015. 

--Judiciary--

NEXT GOVERNOR MAY PUT STAMP ON FLORIDA SUPREME COURT -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Dec. 22, 2013. [Also: WITH FOUR JUSTICES RETIRING, CONTROL OF STATE SUPREME COURT COULD BECOME ELECTION ISSUE FOR NEXT GOVERNOR -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Dec. 22, 2013.]
Four members of the seven-member Florida Supreme Court reach mandatory retirement age during the next four years and, depending on how the retirements play out, the next governor may have the power to pick their replacements. Florida's Constitution requires justices to retire on their 70th birthday or at the end of a six-year term, if they are halfway through the term, whichever is later. Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince each were appointed more than 15 years ago by former Gov. Lawton Chiles. They must retire by January 2019. The other justice, James E.C. Perry, was appointed by Crist in 2009. Perry turns 70 in January but, because he is halfway through his six-year term, he is not required to retire until his term ends in January 2017. For Pariente, Lewis and Quince, the state Constitution allows the justices to serve out their six-year terms but each must turn over the robes no later than the precise moment the sitting governor's term ends. Some agree that if Pariente, Lewis and Quince don't retire early and Scott is governor, there is a chance he could attempt to fill their pending vacancies before his successor takes office, and that could draw a lawsuit.

NASSAU JUDGE DAVIS CONFIRMED TO FEDERAL BENCH -- Florida Times-Union (requires subscription), http://www.jacksonville.com, Dec. 21, 2013. [Also: POLITICAL STALEMATE ENDS WITH NOMINATION OF FIVE JUDGES TO FEDERAL BENCH -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Dec. 20, 2013.]
Nassau County Circuit Judge Brian Davis has been confirmed to a federal judgeship almost two years after President Barack Obama originally appointed him. The U.S. Senate gave final acceptance for Davis to join the Middle District of Florida. Davis, 60, was appointed in February 2012. On Thursday [Dec. 19] Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said Davis had waited 658 days for his confirmation vote. The nomination was held up by Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said his opposition was based on several comments Davis, who is black, made in the 1990s on racial issues. Rubio still opposes the nomination of Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas, who is black and openly gay. Davis' nomination was part of a five-judge deal reached in September that broke a long-running political stalemate between the Obama administration and Georgia's two Republican U.S. senators.

JUDICIAL PROFILE: JUDGE ENGLANDER HENNING'S FATHER CORRECTLY PREDICTED HER FUTURE -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Dec. 20, 2013.
Profile of Broward Circuit Judge Patti Englander Henning. The day she was born, her father gave her mother flowers with a card that said, "It's a baby girl judge." She still has the card. Englander Henning insists that any influence from her father, Malvin Englander—an attorney who practiced from World War II until just this year when he retired at 92, a former vice mayor of Miami Beach, justice of the peace and small claims judge—was only indirect. She said her parents didn't necessarily push her toward a legal career, but they instilled a philosophy of giving back. Judge Englander Henning said she found her love of the law as she studied it and can't imagine doing anything else.

NEARLY HALF IMMIGRATION JUDGES ELIGIBLE TO RETIRE -- The Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Dec. 22, 2013.
The story by The Associated Press was printed by several Florida newspapers. The nation's already backlogged immigration courts might soon be thrown into more havoc as roughly half of their 220 judges will be eligible for retirement next year. The Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees the nation's 59 immigration courts, says the court already has 32 vacancies, contributing to the current backlog of nearly 350,000 cases. Judges are overwhelmed, and immigrants with legitimate asylum claims can spend years in legal limbo. Meanwhile, immigrants without legitimate legal claims remain in the country. The president's 2014 budget calls for 30 new immigration judge teams to address the backlog as well as other efforts to help the courts, but the stalemate in Congress makes it less likely the improvements will happen.

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[Revised: 12-24-2013]