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Sen. Ed Hooper could not sign off on DOAH chief judge pick.

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Ed Hooper: Senate won’t confirm Ron DeSantis pick for chief administrative judge

Governor is reviewing the situation….

Monday was the end of the road for the Governor’s pick for chief judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings.

As the Miami Herald first reported, the nomination of John MacIver, who was at the time Gov. Ron DeSantis’ deputy general counsel. will not be taken up by the Senate this year.

MacIver’s nomination was held up in the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, whose chairman, Republican Sen. Ed Hooper, said he lacked “a level of comfort bringing that confirmation forward because it has my name on it.”

The Governor’s Office could reappoint MacIver, but it’s uncertain whether he will get a second look. A spokesperson told the Herald that the Governor was “reviewing the situation.”

MacIver’s nomination was never a slam dunk. In last September’s Cabinet meeting where MacIver was selected, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried voted “no,” saying that MacIver was ill-qualified for the position.

Indeed, MacIver, a lawyer for seven years who has never handled a courtroom trial, seemed to pass muster with the Cabinet because of conservative bona fides and political connections.

MacIver was president of The Federalist Society’s Tallahassee Lawyers Chapter; the organization refers to itself as a “conservative and libertarian intellectual network that extends to all levels of the legal community.”

He vowed to apply that literalist approach to administrative hearings, which the Florida Bar Journal explained “consider cases that impact the entire state of Florida” and can “hear disputes regarding multi-million dollar contracts issued by state agencies.”

Gov. DeSantis has routinely selected members of the Federalist Society for judgeships, and in that context, there was little to distinguish this pick from myriad others.

MacIver, 45, got his law degree in 2011 from Northwestern University School of Law and was admitted to practice law in Florida the next year. He was an attorney at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation before joining the Governor’s Office under Rick Scott.

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