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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Conflict in Supreme Court finalist selection?



One of the eight Supreme Court justice finalists, Miami attorney Edward Guedes, is a law partner in the same office as one of the Judicial Nominating Commission members tasked with selecting the finalists.

When Guedes interviewed, Judicial Nominating Commission member Candace Duff disclosed her relationship -- that she and Guedes worked in the same Miami office of Greenberg Traurig.

JNC Chairman Robert Hackleman confirmed that Duff revealed the relationship to him and he was comfortable with it and decided there was no substantial conflict, he told the St. Petersburg Times.

Guedes is the only finalist who isn't already serving as a judge.

Duff was appointed to the JNC by Gov. Jeb Bush. Hackleman was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist.

Crist has 59 days to appoint two justices from the slate of eight submitted to him by the Judicial Nominating Commission to replace resigning Justices Kenneth Bell, 52, and Raoul Cantero, 47.

Also, when Buzz asked justice finalist Judge Charles Canady about how he found out he was a finalist, Canady revealed that somebody tipped him off in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday morning, not long after the Judicial Nominating Commission had finished up their deliberations.

He got the official word via an email that arrived around 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning. But he also got a call sometime after midnight, he said.

"I only got about four hours sleep after that. You get a call like that in the middle of the night, even when it’s good news, it’s not easy to go back to sleep peacefully," said Canaday, who is a 2nd District Court of Appeal judge and was one of 13 members of Congress who ran the impeachment hearings against President Bill Clinton.

Jennifer Liberto, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:07am]


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