|TALLAHASSEE - Governor Jeb Bush today
announced the appointment of Raoul G. Cantero, III to the Florida Supreme
Court. Cantero is the first Hispanic to serve on the Court in Florida's
history. He will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice
"Today all Floridians can take pride in the appointment of the first Hispanic justice to serve on the Florida Supreme Court. The significance of Raoul's achievement is important because it proves that service on our state's highest court is open to men and women of excellence from all backgrounds," said Governor Bush. "Raoul has spent his entire career bringing honor to his family and community through his dedication to service. I know he will bring that same honor and dedication to service to the Florida Supreme Court."
Currently an attorney and head of the appellate department at Adorno & Zeder, P.A., Cantero is also a member of the 11th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission. Born in Spain to Cuban parents, Cantero immigrated with his family to the United States in 1961, where they settled in Miami. Cantero graduated from Florida State University summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in English and Business in 1982. He received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1985, where he graduated cum laude.
Following law school, Cantero served as a law clerk to Judge Edward B. Davis in the U.S. District Court in Miami before joining Adorno & Zeder as an associate in 1988. From 1993 to 2001, Cantero served on the Coral Gables Planning and Zoning Board, which he chaired from 1997 to 2001. A member of the Dade County, Hispanic, Cuban and Coral Gables bar associations, Cantero also has served as secretary, treasurer, and member of the executive council of the Florida Bar Appellate Practice Section. He also served as secretary and vice-president of the Florida Bar Appellate Rules Committee.
Cantero, 41, is married to Ana Maria Cantero. They have three children
Christian 12, Michael 9, and Elisa 7. Cantero and his family currently
reside in Miami.
"First, I want to once again thank Justice Harding for his many years of distinguished service on the Court. Justice Harding is a particularly beloved figure, and he will be hard to replace. I also want to commend the Supreme Court JNC for having sent me a truly outstanding slate of candidates. Each of the other nominees is already a sitting judge, and the people of Florida are blessed to have public servants of such high caliber.
"This appointment comes at a time when it's abundantly clear that courts profoundly affect our everyday lives. Courts can safeguard opportunities for the neediest among us, as the U.S. Supreme Court did in its recent decision on school choice and education reform. In death penalty cases, courts make fundamental decisions about life and death, and about victims' ability to obtain justice. Courts routinely issue rulings that govern the relationship between parents and children. And, as the Pledge of Allegiance case demonstrates, court decisions can even endanger the institutions and customs that hold us together as a society. Judges-particularly appellate judges-do their work in a cloistered setting. Nonetheless, their actions have real consequences that affect all of us.
"But the increasing power of courts in our society should not come at the expense of institutions that have a more legitimate claim to govern our lives. To paraphrase John Adams, we are a government of laws and not of men. Far too often, our courts have ignored this basic principle and substituted their own personal views for the laws enacted by the people and their representatives. Increasingly, courts have seized control over policy decisions that are not theirs to make. I'd prefer that judges distinguish themselves by their adherence to the foundational principle of the separation of powers. I don't know of any Floridian or American who's consented to government by the judiciary.
"As courts grow ever more powerful, there is an even greater need for judges who are humble about the judicial role. Humble in the sense that they know courts are not mini-Legislatures or Governors. And in the sense of understanding that a court betrays its duty when it imposes its personal will on the rest of us.
"Courts exist to protect freedom. This includes the individual rights that each of us holds dear. But freedom also means the shared right of the people to govern themselves through their elected representatives in the Legislature and the Executive Branch. A healthy respect for the people's right of self-government-and a strong dose of humility-are absolute prerequisites for a good judge. Raoul Cantero has both of these qualities.
"Raoul was born in Madrid, Spain to Cuban parents. His family brought him to Miami as a nine-month-old. Raoul is married to Ana Maria Cantero, and together they're the parents of three children-Christian, Michael, and Elisa. Raoul got his undergraduate degree here at FSU and then attended Harvard Law School. During a 14-year career in private practice, Raoul has developed into one of the finest appellate advocates in the state. He also distinguished himself in public service through an eight-year tenure on the Coral Gables Planning and Zoning Board.
I'm proud to say that Raoul will be the first Hispanic ever to serve on the Florida Supreme Court. This means a lot to me, and I want to be clear about why I think it is important. The significance of this appointment is not that Raoul will in some sense "represent" the views of Hispanics on the Court. That is not the role of a judge. Raoul's achievement is important because it proves that service on our state's highest court is open to men and women of excellence from all backgrounds.
"This is one of the most important decisions I'll make as Governor. And I'm confident that I've made the right one. Above all else, Raoul Cantero is a man of exceptional character. He will undoubtedly make me-and the people of Florida-proud."