Commissioner of Foreign Claims Settlement Commission: Who is Rafael Martinez?
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Rafael E. “Ralph” Martinez has served as a part-time commissioner on the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission since his appointment in 2008 by President George W. Bush. He was sworn in on May 28, 2008. His term expires September 30, 2010.
Martinez was born in Cuba to Gladys V. Ruíz and Melquíades C. Martínez. He and his older brother, Melquíades Rafael Martínez Ruiz (or Mel), fled Cuba and eventually wound up in Orlando, Florida. Mel Martinez went on to become the first Latino to serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee, as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (under Bush) and as Republican U.S. senator from Florida.
Ralph Martinez received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida in 1973, and his Juris Doctorate from Florida State University in 1976.
He began practicing law in Florida in 1977, embarking on a 30-year career as a civil litigator who handled cases in the Sunshine State and before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has specialized in defending doctors against malpractice lawsuits.
Martinez is currently the managing partner of McEwan, Martinez & Dukes, P.A.
In 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Martínez to serve as the U.S. representative on the Organization American States’ (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, but, in an unprecedented action, the OAS rejected the nomination. This was seen both as a rebuke of the Bush administration’s own human rights violations and of Martínez as someone without qualifications for the position.
Bush then chose Martinez to be a public delegate representing the United States before the United Nations 57th General Assembly.
Martinez’s professional activities have included serving as a member of the Inter–American Bar Association (1979–present); the Ninth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission (1990–1994; commission chair, 1993–1994); board of directors of the Health Law Section of the Florida Bar (1992–1997); Fifth District Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission (1995–1999); American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) Central Florida Chapter (1996–present; president, 2004); International Association of Defense Counsel; Products Liability Committee (1996–present); Pharmaceutical Medical Device and Biotechnology Committee (1996–present); Judicial Relations Committee chairman (1997–1998); Orange County Bar Association, Professionalism Committee chairman (1999–2000); Medical Defense Committee chair (2000–2001); IADC Trial Academy faculty, Stanford University (2004); and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
He has also served as SunTrust South Orlando Administrative Board Chairman (1988-2000); on the Orlando Regional Healthcare Foundation Board of Directors (1989-Present); Chairman of the Metropolitan YMCA for Central Florida (1992-1994); Central Florida Fair Association (1999-Present); CNL Bank Board of Directors (2002-Present); and the YMCA of the U.S.A. National Board Nominating Committee (2003-Present).
Martinez has contributed to the campaigns of numerous Republican candidates, including Lamar Alexander, George W. Bush, Bill McCollum, Rick Santorum and…his brother, Mel Martinez.
Martinez and his wife, Rebecca, have two daughters and a son.
Commissioner Rafael E. Martinez (Foreign Claims Settlement Commission)
Rafael E. Martinez (McEwan, Martinez & Dukes)
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