Gov. DeSantis names nine to 1st DCA nominating panel, including three Federalist Society members

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Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed nine individuals to the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 1st District Court of Appeal, including four reappointments.

On Friday, DeSantis named Nathan Adams IVHayden Dempsey, Erik “Rick” FiglioAmber Nunnally and James Percival II to the nominating panel. He also extended Edward Fleming, Benjamin Gibson, Gary Hunter Jr. and Peter Penrod for additional terms.

At least three of DeSantis’ appointees are members of the Federalist Society. In February 2019, the Republican Governor told members of the conservative legal organization that the Florida Supreme Court — with his appointments — won’t side with Democrats as often as past courts. Already, the Court has secured early victories for conservatives on abortion and redistricting, the latter a topic DeSantis highlighted in his 2019 speech.

JNCs, composed of lawyers and non-lawyers, help shape the makeup of Florida’s judicial system by interviewing candidates and drafting a list of nominees to fill vacant judgeships. The Commissions submit a list of three to six nominees to the Governor, who must make a final selection from the list.

The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th and 12th Judicial Circuits feed into the 1st District Court of Appeal, which spans from Pensacola to Jacksonville and extends as far south as Levy County.

Adams, who is a partner at Holland & Knight in Tallahassee, was appointed from a list of nominees from the Florida Bar for a term ending in 2026. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College, his master’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from the University of Texas. He is also a member of the Federalist Society.

Dempsey, who is a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig in Tallahassee, was appointed from a list of nominees from the Florida Bar for a term ending in 2026. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and his law degree from Nova Southeastern University.

Figlio is a shareholder at Ausley McMullen in Tallahassee. He was appointed from a list of nominees from the Florida Bar for a term ending in 2023, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and his law degree from the University of Georgia.

Nunnally, who is a partner at Shutts & Bowen in Tallahassee, was appointed for a term ending in 2023. She received her bachelor’s and law degrees from Florida State University.

Percival, of Tallahassee, is the Deputy Attorney General of Legal Policy for the Office of the Attorney General. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California Santa Barbara and his law degree from the University of Virginia. He was appointed for a term ending in 2024. Percival is a member of the Federalist Society.

Fleming, of Milton, is a Partner at McDonald Fleming. He received his bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University and his law degree from UGA. Fleming was reappointed for a term ending in 2023.

Gibson, a partner alongside Nunnally at Shutts & Bowen, was reappointed for a term ending in 2026. He earned his bachelor’s degree from UF and his law degree from FSU. Gibson has served on the State Board of Education, was general counsel to the Republican Party of Florida for the last two election cycles and is a member of the Federalist Society.

Hunter is a Partner at Holtzman Vogel Baran Torchinsky & Josefiak in Tallahassee. He received his bachelor’s and law degrees from UGA and was reappointed from a list of nominees from the Florida Bar for a term ending in 2024.

Penrod, of Tallahassee, is the Chief of Staff for the Florida Department of Financial Services. He received his bachelor’s degree from UF and his law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law. He was reappointed for a term ending in 2024.

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