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Luck joins the Florida Supreme Court

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Luck joins the Florida Supreme Court

Third District Court of Appeal Judge and Miami native Robert J. Luck’s rapid career ascent culminated January 14 with Gov. Ron DeSantis naming the 39-year-old former federal prosecutor to the Florida Supreme Court.

Standing next to his wife, Jennifer, and their two young children, Julia and Jacob, Luck thanked DeSantis for coming to his children’s Jewish academy, Scheck Hillel Community School in Miami, to appoint the first Jewish justice to the court in recent years.

“I have taken an oath to make the Constitution, and not the judiciary, supreme,” Luck said. “I swear to you governor, I will keep that oath today, tomorrow, and God willing, for the next 35 years.”

During a brief question and answer period following the announcement, DeSantis praised Luck’s legal qualifications, calling him a natural choice.

“He writes so well,” DeSantis said. “He was born to be a judge, there’s no doubt about it.

Ending his brief remarks with a prayer of thanks, Luck later assured reporters that he does not let his religious faith prejudice his professional judgment.

“It guides me as a person, as a man, and as a husband,” he said. “But it’s very different from my job as a judge.”

An appellate lawyer for Greenburg Traurig, Luck was also an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Florida from 2008-2013, where he worked on appeals, major crimes and economic crimes. By the time he left that office, Luck was deputy chief of the Major Crimes Division. He was appointed to the 11th Circuit bench in September 2013 and served there until he was named to the Third DCA in March 2017.

Luck is DeSantis’ second Supreme Court appointment in less than two weeks. A day after his inauguration, DeSantis traveled to Miami to announce the appointment of Third District Court of Appeal Chief Judge Barbara Lagoa, making her Florida’s first Cuban-American female justice.

DeSantis is expected to appoint a third justice any day.

Former Justices Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente, and Peggy Quince were forced by the Florida Constitution to retire at the end of the six-year judicial term in which they turned 70. Their terms expired simultaneously the day DeSantis was sworn into office.

Judge Luck, like Lagoa, is proud of his South Florida roots.

A product of the Miami-Dade County public schools, he earned an undergraduate degree in economics at the University of Florida before graduating magna cum laude from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law in 2004. He also served as editor and chief of the Florida Law Review.

Judge Luck is one of 11 candidates DeSantis personally interviewed from a slate forwarded by the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission.

Luck is also one of the only candidates to demonstrate unusual composure in the most trying circumstances.

In his application, Luck recalled a 2015 incident in which a defendant, who was facing charges of battering a person older than 65, charged him on the bench, knocked him over, and punched his head repeatedly.

When the defendant was removed, Luck refused medical attention, calmly dictated the incident into the record, and recused himself. He later received a letter of encouragement from then Chief Justice Jorge Labarga.

“Your coolness and understanding was exemplary,” Labarga wrote.

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