Raag Singhal of South Florida's Seventeenth District
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Raag Singhal confirmed by U.S Senate

By Fabrice Pierre-Toussaint

Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local | See my LinkedIn

Raag Singhal, a well respected Broward County circuit court judge, got confirmed Thursday by the U.S. Senate as South Florida’s new federal judge.According to the sun sentinel, The vote was 76-17, consisting of seven senators not voting. The “no” votes all resulted from Democrats, a lot of whom have consistently voted against President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees and  yet with the Republican majority pushing them through. Singhal belongs to the Federalist Society. A group that advocates for conservative legal theories and limited government.  Before becoming a judge, Singhal was active in the Broward Republican Party.

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Nonetheless, his nomination by President Donald Trump was praised by Republicans as well as Democrats. Including criminal and civil lawyers who appeared before him as a judge, and alongside him when he was a lawyer in private practice. Singhal was an assistant state attorney and a criminal defense lawyer. In 2011, then Governor of Florida Rick Scott appointed him as circuit court judge. In 2014, he won a full six-year term when no candidate came forward to run against him for the seat. Singhal is Indian-American with both of his parents emigrated to the U.S from India. 

He was nominated to the court by President Donald Trump on September 9, 2019, and confirmed by the United States Senate on December 19, 2019. He will join the court upon receiving his judicial commission and taking his judicial oath. He was a judge on the Seventeenth Circuit Court in Florida. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida is one of 94 U.S District Courts. They represent the general trial courts of the United States Federal Courts According to ballotpedia.org, Singhal was nominated to succeed Judge James Cohn, who achieved seniority status on August 5, 2016. The American Bar Association all rated Singhal well qualified for the position.

Persistency is a trait that is well respected among Singhal, according to vettingroom.org. Singhal applied for the position at least 15 times prior. Singhal attended Rice University and Wake Forest University Law School. After graduation, Singhal spent a year with Fleming, O’Brien & Fleming as an Associate. Eventually becoming a prosecutor in Ft. Lauderdale. In 1993, Singhal became a Partner in a criminal defense practice in Ft. Lauderdale, which he maintained until 2011. His appointment made him the first Asian-American judge in the county and only the third in Florida. He was considered by Governor Ron DeSantis for appointment to the Florida Supreme Court, DeSantis chose three other candidates instead.

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Singhal handled major felonies and any civil cases with more than $15000 in charge. Throughout his eight year tenure on state court, Singhal has heard approximately 8000 cases, including over 450 trials. Recently, Singhal presided over suits related to Brenda Snipes,  head of the Broward County Election Board, who has been criticized by Republicans for her poor management of elections. In August 2018, Singhal issued a court order ordering Snipes not to open vote-by-mail ballots before they could be reviewed by the Canvassing Board. Singhal also presided over a suit brought by law professor Tim Canova,  alleged that ballots had been improperly destroyed by Snipes in his race against Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.Singhal ruled that Snipes acted contrary to state and federal law in destroying ballots in the race. As a criminal defense attorney, Singhal spoke out in support of more compassionate sentencing and a reduction in over-incarceration. He also spoke out in compassionate sentencing for people charged with white-collar crimes.

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