Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday appointed Treasure Coast attorney Alan Orantes Forst to a vacancy on the 4th District Court of Appeal.
Forst had angered some judicial watchdogs for touting "conservative credentials" on his application. He replaces Fred Hazouri, who retired from the court that handles appellate cases in Broward and Palm Beach counties and the Treasure Coast.
Scott selected Forst over four judges with extensive trial court experience. Four of the six finalists were seasoned judges (Peter Blanc, Glenn Kelly, Janis Brustares Keyser and Krista Marx).
Forst is an attorney and chairman of a state agency, the Florida Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission. The Palm City resident included in his application a section he labeled "Conservative Credentials," and name-dropped Clarence Thomas, Bob Dole and Jeb Bush.
Forst noted that he was a college Republican and Ford-Dole volunteer and worked for a pro-Ronald Reagan political action committee. He worked in President Reagan's Justice Department, where his duties included being a liaison between the agency and Clarence Thomas, who then was chairman at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
-- Steve Bousquet