Ex-GOP House Manager named to Supreme Court

08/28/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Gov. Charlie Crist today selected Charles Canady for a seat on the Florida Supreme Court.

Canady will fill the vacancy left by Justice Raoul Cantero III, who has served on the Florida Supreme Court since 2002.

Canady, a former GOP congressman, is best known as being among those who prosecuted President Bill Clinton in the 1999 Senate impeachment trial. He later served as general counsel to Gov. Jeb Bush and defended Bush’s school voucher program, which let children from failing public schools switch to private schools at taxpayers' expense.

Canady has served as a judge on the Second District Court of Appeals since 2002. He thanked the governor today.

The Lakeland native graduated from Yale Law School in 1979 and went on to a career in public and private practice, working for law firms including Holland & Knight and Greenberg Traurig. He served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1984 to 1990 and was elected to Congress in 1992, representing Lakeland until he stepped down in 2000. Adam Putnam has since held the seat since then.

Conservative groups hailed the decision.

John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Action, the organization behind Amendment 2, which would ban same-sex marriage in Florida, called Canady one of the finest judges in the state, and said Crist should be "applauded and thanked for his outstanding selection."

The Florida Chamber of Commerce also came out in support of the decision. So did Howard Coker, past president of the Florida Bar and past president of the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers. He said Canady is “imminently qualified to serve."

Crist still needs to select another Justice to the Court. There are currently three finalists for that seat – Ricky Polston, Peter Webster and Waddell Wallace.

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