Six applications now in for state Supreme Court vacancy – Florida Politics (blog)
Appellate judge Wendy W. Berger and Circuit Judge Michelle T. Morley are the latest applicants for a seat on the Florida Supreme Court.
That brings to six the number of those who have filed to replace Justice James E.C. Perry, who is retiring at the end of the year.
The latest applications were confirmed by Jason Unger, chair of the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission.
Berger, a Jacksonville native, was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach in late 2012.
Morley, who sits in Sumter County, was elected to the 5th Judicial Circuit bench in 2006 and re-elected in 2012.
Scott, a Republican, will name Perry’s replacement, making it his first opportunity to pick a state Supreme Court justice.
The seven-member state Supreme Court often splits 5-2 on matters of public policy, with Justices Charles Canady and Ricky Polston the only reliable conservative votes.
At first blush, Berger has conservative bona fides.
She received her undergraduate and law degrees from Florida State University, then served as an assistant state attorney in Northeast Florida’s 7th Judicial Circuit from 1993-2000, according to her official bio.
Berger later was assistant general counsel to then-Gov. Jeb Bush, until he appointed her a circuit judge in 2005.
She and her husband, Larry, live in St. Augustine with their two children.
Morley, a Bronx native, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Tampa and her law degree from the Stetson University College of Law, according to her Ballotpedia profile. She practiced family law before becoming a judge.
Her interest in becoming a judge was sparked by her experience as a guardian ad litem, according to a 2006 St. Petersburg Times profile. Guardians represent the interests of children in court proceedings, especially in divorce and juvenile dependency matters.
She represented “a little girl whose parents were killed in a car crash,” the Times story said.