JNCs reject plan for fixed number of nominees JNCs reject plan for fixed number of nominees July 15, 2003 Regular News Florida’s circuit and district court of appeal judicial nominating commissions have approved rule changes to conform to changes in state law, but rejected a proposal from the Governor’s Office about the number of nominees they should forward.Meeting at the Bar’s Annual Meeting June 26, representatives from all five DCAs and 14 of the 20 circuit JNCs rejected a proposed rule that would have required them to always send six nominees to the governor for each judicial vacancy.The JNC representatives did approve changes to conform their rules with changes made by the legislature in past years in the JNC process. Those included removing the Bar’s three appointments to each JNC, ending the public members appointed to JNCs, and acknowledging that all JNC members are now appointed by the governor. (The Bar does make nominations for four of those seats, but the governor makes the final choice.)The Governor’s Office had proposed the change to the rule on the number of nominations. Bush’s General Counsel, Raquel Rodriguez, said Bush wanted six names for each vacancy to improve diversity, adding it would give more opportunity to women, young lawyers, and minorities.But JNC representatives balked at that change. They said it potentially conflicted with the Florida Constitution, which requires that the JNCs send between three and six nominees for each vacancy. Another potential conflict, critics said, is with the JNC rules that set minimum standards for nominees. They noted there could be cases where a JNC cannot pick six nominees who meet the standards.Members also complained there are cases where a potential candidate might meet the minimum standards, but is far less qualified that those who make the list. Adding those less qualified individuals just to bring the list up to six would be wrong, they said.A final argument was JNC members know local candidates better than Tallahassee officials, and should be allowed to make their own decisions rather than try to reach an arbitrary number.Circuit representatives voted 11-3 to reject the proposed rule. The five representatives from the DCA JNCs tabled the issue, but all five spoke against it.Carol Licko, former general counsel for Bush, proposed an amendment that JNCs would send six only if they found six candidates who met the qualifications set out in the rules. The JNC representatives tabled that proposal.