JNC Appointments: A Flash Back To GOP’s Past



One of the new members of the Judicial Nominating Commission harkens back to the rebirth of the Broward Republican Party in the 1990s.

Attorney and newly appointed JNC member D. David Keller’s father was the architect of the modern Broward Republican Party – Lew Keller.

I don’t know David Keller’s politics, but Lew Keller was surely no Tea Party-type Republican.  He believed in the big tent philosophy, eschewing any litmus test for joining the GOP.

D. David Keller was one of five new JNC members appointed by Gov. Rick Scott.  The JNC is one of the most influential groups that Scott controls because it recommends who becomes a judge.

The appointments were made while I was on vacation or I would have weighed in sooner.

Scott promised during his 2010 campaign to remake politics.  So his appointments surprise me. Some of them are clearly the same old, same old.

The governor named GOP powerbroker Bill Scherer. Scherer is a good lawyer. I’m sure he will be serious about his new responsibilities.  But he is nothing new having been a GOP’s powerbrokers for decades.

It was only six years ago that Scherer was eased out as general counsel at the North Broward Hospital District, which gave him prominent role in local politics.  Now he has another powerbase, helping choose who is named a judge.

Another appointee is Georgette Sosa Douglass.  She is a long-time GOP activist.

Fred Karlinsky is a veteran government and insurance industry insider.

These are not Tea Partiers, despite the support that Republican wing provided Scott in his election.

Again, I don’t know much about David Keller.  I do know that he is a registered Democrat, according to politicalstrategies.com’s voter lists.

It is refreshing to see the governor appoint someone who is not a right wing Republican.

I know the fact that David was a Democratic annoyed his father, Lew. After all, D. David Keller was named after Republican President Dwight David Eisenhower.

 Lew Keller’s Big Tent

Lew Keller was chairman of the Broward Republicans from 1992 through 1996.  He died in 1999 from cancer, a big loss to the community and the GOP.

Born in Chicago, Lew was a Young Republican in Illinois, where he struck up a lifelong friendship with then-U. S. Rep. Gerald Ford.  The Michigan congressman later became president.

Lew moved to New Jersey as a sales executive with Burlington Industries and remained a Republican activist.

He retired in 1990 to Broward, the county with the largest Democratic Party in Florida. He got involved in the GOP, which was controlled by a small group of religious conservatives.

In 1992, the moderate Lew put together a coalition that seized control of the Broward Republicans.

Lew immediately reached out to groups that were normally not part of the waspy Broward Republican organization. But then again, the Broward Republican organization was notoriously impotent for the 20 years before he took over.

Lew helped form the party’s first black Republican club, was sympathetic to the gay Log Cabin Republicans and actively courted Jews and Hispanics.  He even appointed a Christian Coalition member as his second vice president, even though he had vanquished the Christian conservatives when he took over the party.

He wouldn’t be a good fit today, with our hyper-partisan politics. Because instead of fulminating and drawing lines in the sand — Witness the GOP House during the recent budget debate.  A true disgrace. — Lew worked to find compromises.

Lew looked for issues that all Republicans could agree on.  He didn’t dictate what those issues were and exclude anybody who disagreed, like so many in today’s Tea Party wing would.

Under Lew Keller the party became relevant again.

It was again taken seriously by the business community. It became an incubator for young Republicans who later became leaders and office holders, like super lawyer Ed Pozzuoli and future U. S. Sen. George LeMieux.

Let’s hope Lew’s son, David, follows in his father’s footsteps.

Let’s hope he embracing people who have a wide range of opinions.  Let’s hope members of the new JNC will consider all applicants for the bench, even if they have a different social or political philosophy.


 The governor’s news release:


Governor Rick Scott Appoints Five to Seventeenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

7/15/2011 Tallahassee, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott today announced the following reappointment and appointments to the Seventeenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission.

Jamie J. Finizio-Bascombe, 44, of Sea Ranch Lakes, is a partner with Finizio and Finizio Law Offices P.A. She is reappointed for a term beginning July 15, 2011, and ending July 1, 2014.

Finizio-Bascombe has served as an arbitrator for the Florida Bar Association fee dispute program. She has handled bad faith insurance matters and represented both defendants and plaintiffs in personal injury cases. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her law degree from Nova Southeastern University School of Law.

Finizio-Bascombe is reappointed from the list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar.

Georgette Sosa Douglass, 62, of Fort Lauderdale, is a self-employed attorney. She succeeds Clarence McKee and is appointed for a term beginning July 15, 2011, and ending July 1, 2015.

From 1999 to 2010, Sosa Douglass served on the Broward College District Board of Trustees, and from 2000 to 2002, she served on the Florida Bar Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee. She was president of the Florida Council of Bar Association Presidents in 2004, president of the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association in 1998, and president of the Broward County Women Lawyer’s Association in 1997. Sosa Douglass has served as pro bono family law counsel in family matters for indigent clients through Broward Lawyers Care. She received her bachelor’s degree from Schiller University in London, England, and a law degree from Nova Southeastern University.

William R. Scherer, 63, of Fort Lauderdale, is a founding partner of Conrad and Scherer L.L.P. He succeeds John Pisula and is appointed for a term beginning July 15, 2011, and ending July 1, 2014.

During his 25 years at Conrad and Scherer, he has supervised teams of legal experts in healthcare and malpractice law that served as General Counsel to the North Broward Hospital District. Scherer’s practice areas include civil rights, personal injury, first party insurance, product liability, commercial and banking, government and administrative, professional liability and government relations. He received his bachelor’s degree from Franklin College of Indiana, where he currently serves on the Board of Trustees, and his law degree from Indiana University School of Law.

Fred E. Karlinsky, 44, of Weston, is a shareholder for Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky and Abate P.A. He succeeds Michael Marcil and is appointed for a term beginning July 15, 2011, and ending July 1, 2015.

Karlinsky has practiced with the firm since 1993, except from 1996 to 1999, when he was chief legal officer and assistant executive director of the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association. Previously, he held positions with the Florida House of Representatives, Florida Department of Community Affairs and as a law clerk for a trial judge in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. He currently serves as Florida counsel to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and general counsel for the Florida Property and Casualty Association. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and his law degree from the Florida State University College of Law.

D. David Keller, 55, of Plantation, is president and a founding shareholder with Keller Landsberg P.A. He succeeds Timothy Bailey and is appointed for a term beginning July 15, 2011, and ending July 1, 2014.

Keller maintains membership in the Defense Research Institute, and the Florida Defense Lawyers Association and has been elected to membership in the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, and the American Board of Trial Advocates. He also served as a member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates and has served the Florida Bar and local bar associations in various capacities. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University, and his law degree from the University of Florida.

Keller is appointed from the list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar.


6 Responses to “JNC Appointments: A Flash Back To GOP’s Past”

  1. Everything Old is New Again says:

    Bill Scherer was on the JNC many years ago, and served for many years. The other appointees are part of the old time established downtown law firms with Republican ties.

    You are correct, Gov. Scott is far from remaking politics. This is the same old, same old.

  2. Bernie F says:

    Your spin on the debt limit dispute stuck in the middle of a story about local politics is typical liberal propaganda. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her ilk are responsible forthe flood of red ink which threatens our grandchildren.

  3. GOPapa says:

    Lew was a class act. He was nothing like the self-aggrandizing light weights who run the party today.

  4. A Matter of Perception says:

    I for one believe that new legislation is needed regarding JNCs. There is a person who has been on the 17th JNC going on ten years! There have been times where two attorneys from the same firm serve at the SAME TIME! Now there is someone who once served for a lengthy period and has now returned to serve AGAIN!
    We have six thousand attorneys in Broward. Can’t the governor find other qualified people to serve?
    Here are my suggestions:
    -Two term limit person for life.
    -No person, spouse, law firm partner, employee or former partner or employee, or anyone related by blood or marriage to the foregoing may serve at the same time or within one term of each other.
    I really think that the above changes would drastically improve the local perception of how things get done with the JNC.

  5. John Gillespie says:

    I’ve known David Keller well for many years. Practiced law with him for a time. He’s a great choice. Fine lawyer. Thoughtful guy. And most important, he’s above politics I would bet my last $10 that David Couldn’t care less about party registration when selecting judges. Not just unimportant but irrelevant. Probably the only thing Gov Scott has done right.

  6. Michel Maez says:

    Millions of FEMA dollars has filtered through the “Cheese Cloth of Corruption”, otherwise known as OPSO. Where is the accountability!!! Marlin “Pseudo Sheriff” Gusman sits before the council, declaring he needs more money, but cannot account for what has been expended. Furthermore, only one of the four reasons he sites for needing more funds, has any legitimacy at all.