Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., announced Thursday that he and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., formed three screening conferences that will recommend candidates to fill federal judicial openings as well as vacant U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshal positions in their state.
The panels, one for each of Florida‘s judicial districts, will interview and vet candidates and then report their findings to a delegation led by Hastings. Hastings notified the White House Counsel on Monday that he and Wasserman Schultz would be forming the panels to help with the vetting process before President Biden chooses his nominees.
“These screening conferences bring together strong legal and judicial experience from all over our state, and they will be critical in advising Florida lawmakers as we evaluate candidates for some of the most important jobs in Florida,” Hastings said in a statement. “I thank each member of these screening conferences for their willingness to serve such a vital role.”
Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
The panels are mostly comprised of attorneys and current and retired judges, including former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara J. Pariente and Judge Belvin Perry Jr., who presided over Casey Anthony’s 2011 criminal trial.
Hastings himself is a former judge who was impeached and removed from office in 1989 after being accused of perjury, falsifying documents and bribery in connection with reducing sentences of defendants with mob ties. Out of 17 articles of impeachment, the Senate voted on 11 and convicted Hastings on eight of them.
While the Senate removed Hastings from the bench, they opted not to disqualify him from holding future office, and he was elected to Congress in 1992.