Who are the appeals court judges on the ballot?

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Six judges are up for retention on Nov. 3.

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  • There are a total of 15 judges on the Florida First District Court of Appeals, six of whom are on the Nov. 3 ballot because their current term ends Jan, 5, 2021. Voters will decide whether these six judges should be retained past that date.  Photos from Florida First District Court of Appeals
    There are a total of 15 judges on the Florida First District Court of Appeals, six of whom are on the Nov. 3 ballot because their current term ends Jan, 5, 2021. Voters will decide whether these six judges should be retained past that date. Photos from Florida First District Court of Appeals
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There are a total of 15 judges on the Florida First District Court of Appeals, six of whom are on the Nov. 3 ballot because their current term ends Jan, 5, 2021. Voters will decide whether these six judges should be retained past that date.

From The Florida Bar (floridabar.org):

The First District Court of Appeals covers 32 counties, including Nassau and Duval. It includes judicial circuits 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 and 14. Newly appointed judges go on the ballot for the first time within two years after appointment. If the voters retain them, they then go on the ballot again every six years.

With permission from Ballotpedia:

Joseph Lewis

Joseph Lewis assumed office in 2001. Lewis was retained to the First District Court of Appeal with 64.4% of the vote on Nov. 4, 2014.

The Florida Bar conducted a poll of its members regarding the appellate judges up for retention in 2014, and 90% of respondents recommended Lewis for retention. In 2020, 84% recommended retaining him.

In a noteworthy case and despite acknowledging that the result is harsh, Lewis nonetheless wrote in a 2-1 majority opinion in 2014 that state law is clear: the qualifying fee to be on the ballot must be paid before the end of the qualifying period. The fact that the candidate’s bank admitted it erred in returning her check did not sway the court.

Before becoming a judge on the appeals court, he worked in the Office of the Attorney General, as bureau chief, Employment Litigation/Civil Litigation Section, as senior attorney, General Civil Litigation Section, as an assistant public defender, 2nd Florida Judicial Circuit, and as a judicial research aide, Florida Industrial Relations Commission.

Lewis received his undergraduate degree from the University of Montana in 1974 and earned his J.D. from Florida State University in 1977.

Scott D. Makar

Scott D. Makar assumed office in 2012. Makar was retained to the First District Court of Appeal with 63.8% of the vote on Nov. 4, 2014.

The Florida Bar conducted a poll of its members regarding the appellate judges up for retention in 2014, and 82% of respondents recommended Makar for retention. In 2020, 80% recommended his retention.

Makar earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Mercer University. His J.D. is from the University of Florida, in addition to having a doctorate in economics. Before becoming a judge on the appeals court, he was the solicitor general of Florida, an assistant general counsel for the city of Jacksonville, and an associate and capital partner at Holland and Knight, LLP.

In a noteworthy case on Oct. 1, 2014, the First District Court refused to take up a case challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s congressional districts. Instead, the case was sent directly to the Florida Supreme Court. Makar wrote a dissent to the majority opinion.

Rachel Nordby

Rachel Nordby assumed office in 2019 after being appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Before joining the Florida 1st District Court of Appeal in 2019, Nordby was a partner at the law firm of Shutts & Bowen LLP. She previously served as senior
deputy solicitor general in the office of the attorney general of Florida.

The Florida Bar conducted a poll of its members regarding the appellate judges up for retention in 2020 and 71% recommended her retention.

Nordby obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a J.D. from Florida State University College of Law. During her legal studies, she served as editor-in-chief of the Law Review.

Timothy D. Osterhaus

Timothy D. Osterhaus assumed office on May 20, 2013. Before becoming a judge on the appeals court, he was solicitor general for the state of Florida from 2012-13. Before that, he was the deputy solicitor general. He also served two years as assistant general counsel, Florida Department of Education. From 2004-05, he was a sole practitioner. From 1998-04, he was an associate attorney at Arent Fox and Howrey & Simon. He served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp.

Osterhaus was retained to the First District Court of Appeal with 63.4% of the vote on Nov. 4, 2014. The Florida Bar conducted a poll of its members regarding the appellate judges up for retention in 2014, and 83% of respondents recommended Osterhaus for retention. In 2020, 76% recommended his retention.

Osterhaus received his undergraduate degree from King College in 1993 and his J.D. from the University of Virginia in 1997.

L. Clayton Roberts

L. Clayton Roberts assumed office on Jan, 18, 2007.

Roberts was a staff attorney for the Committee on Executive Business, Ethics & Elections on the Florida Senate from 1995 to 1997. He then became the staff director of the Committee on Election Reform. In 1998, he moved to the House of Representatives, working as a council attorney on the Public Responsibility Council. From 1999 to 2002, he was the director of the Florida Division of Elections. After this, he worked as general counsel for the Florida Department of State. He became an executive deputy attorney general in 2003 and a deputy attorney general in 2006. He held this position until his appointment to the Court of Appeals.

Roberts was retained to the First District Court of Appeal with 64.2% of the vote on Nov. 4, 2014.

The Florida Bar conducted a poll of its members regarding the appellate judges up for retention in 2014, and 85% of respondents recommended Roberts for retention. In 2020, 80% recommended retention.

Roberts earned a B.S. in military history from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1987. He earned his J.D. from Florida State University in 1991.

Adam Tanenbaum

Adam Tanenbaum assumed office in 2019 after being appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Before joining the Florida 1st District Court of Appeal in 2019, Tanenbaum was the general counsel to the Florida House of Representatives. He previously served as general counsel for the Florida Department of State and as chief deputy solicitor general in the office of the attorney general of Florida. He was also an assistant public defender.

The Florida Bar conducted a poll of its members regarding the appellate judges up for retention in 2020 and 74% recommended his retention.

Tanenbaum obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a J.D. from Georgetown University.