Robert J. Luck, highly respected rule-of-law conservative on the 3rd District Court of Appeal and the only Jewish applicant for the job, is Gov. Ron DeSantis' second pick for the Florida Supreme Court.
DeSantis, with Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez at his side, made the announcement Monday at the Scheck Hillel Community School in Miami. “Really across the board, people who know him, like him and respect him. So I think not only will he be a formidable force on the Florida Supreme Court, I think he will immediately have the respect of all his colleagues on that court and beyond,” DeSantis said about Luck.
Justice Luck's appointment follows the announcement last Wednesday of Barbara Lagoa, also from the 3rd DCA, who is the first Hispanic woman in history selected to serve on the Florida Supreme Court.
During a recent interview, Luck, 39, described his judicial philosophy: “I understand how the judiciary -- what Hamilton called our least dangerous branch -- fits into our system of government ... Having worked in each of the three branches, I understand the modest role of the judge in reviewing the laws enacted by the Legislature, the actions taken by the executive, and the findings of the lower courts ... I have conducted myself that way for the last five years, and I will continue to do so as long as I am permitted to serve.”
Luck was appointed to the 3rd DCA by Gov. Rick Scott, and took his seat March 6, 2017. Before his appointment -- from Sept. 2013 to March 2017 he served on the 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, presiding in the Criminal, Civil, and Appellate Divisions.
In his years as a trial court judge, Luck tried 70 jury trials, and heard dozens of appeals from the county court and municipal agencies. He was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2013, but he was elected by the voters of Miami-Dade County to retain his seat in 2016.
Prior to his service on the bench, Justice Luck was an assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida. During his years as a federal prosecutor, he was assigned to the Appeals, Major Crimes, and Economic Crimes Sections of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. During that period he tried 19 jury trials before the federal District Court, and argued three appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. In his final year in the office, Luck was a deputy chief in the Major Crimes Section.
Notable in his experience, earlier in his career the new justice was a legislative correspondent for two U.S. senators, a law clerk and staff attorney to Circuit Judge Edward E. Carnes on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, and a part of the Greenberg Traurig firm’s appellate section.
Upon learning of Luck's appointment, Florida Family Policy Council President John Stemberger issued this statement: “Robert Luck is a brilliant jurist. To speak with, or listen to Judge Luck, is to realize you are in the presence of a truly unique and Scalia-like intellect. Luck fully understands that the role of a judge is a limited one of restraint. He has demonstrated over the years through his written decisions and public statements, that the job of a judge is to interpret law as it is written and not make law or engage in result-oriented decision making. As an observant Jew, Luck is also grounded in ethical and moral principles that will surely guide and inform his service to the state of Florida. Once again, Ron DeSantis has made a very solid appointment that will help to define his legacy as Governor for years to come.”
Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, released this statement: "Congratulations to Justice Luck on his appointment to the Florida Supreme Court. I was pleased to read that Justice Luck commented during the announcement of his appointment that the Constitution, not the Judiciary, is supreme. I certainly agree. Governor DeSantis has demonstrated again today that he is committed to appointing judges who have the utmost respect for the separation of powers defined in our Constitution. I wish Justice Luck well as he begins his service on our state’s highest court.”
Luck received his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law magna cum laude, and was asked to join the Order of the Coif. He also served as editor-in-chief of the Florida Law Review. Luck received his Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Florida with highest honors.
Justice Luck, like his father before him, was born and raised in Miami-Dade County. He is a product of Miami-Dade County public schools, graduating from North Miami Beach Senior High School. He still lives in Northeast Miami-Dade County with his wife and two children.