Amicus Briefs

Join the conversation and submit your statement in support of the Florida courts to: Amicus@FairandImpartial.com

Feds and Florida headed to court over voter purge

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A legal standoff has developed between Florida and the Obama administration over a contentious voter purge pushed by Gov. Rick Scott. Read more here: http://ktvl.com/template/inews_wire/wires.national/35457e40-www.ktvl.com.shtml.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

ACLU sues Florida to stop noncitizen voter purge

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Florida on Friday to stop its controversial program designed to purge noncitizen voters from the rolls. Read more here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/aclu-sues-florida-to-stop-noncitizen-voter-purge/1234772

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Scott’s Voter Purge Is a Disgrace

“Not a single eligible voter, as far as I know, has been removed from the voter rolls,” said Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday. What Scott could not truthfully say was, “Not one single eligible voter has been attempted to be removed from the voter rolls.” Read more here: http://www.theledger.com/article/20120610/COLUMNISTS0308/120619992

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Florida Governor Rick Scott Now Less Popular Than Very Unpopular LeBron James

A new poll conducted by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling shows Florida Governor Rick Scott, with a 31 percent approval rating, is less popular amongst Floridians than the highly polarizing Miami Heat star LeBron James, who pips Scott with a 32 percent rating. Read more here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2012/06/08/florida_governor_rick_scott_now_less_popular_than_very_unopular_lebron_james_.html

Posted in News | Tagged | Comments Off

Analysis: the investigation into Florida’s Supreme Court justices

TAMPA (FOX 13) - Governor Rick Scott has directed state police to investigate the three justices appointed by Democrats. At issue is re-election paperwork the justices filed, and how they filed it. The fallout from the investigation could reshape the state Supreme Court, which has happened in other states. Read more here: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/18742452/analysis-the-investigation-into-floridas-supreme-court-justices

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Temper tantrums in Tallahassee

At least once a month, I have a conversation with my 8-year-old that sounds something like this: “Stop that.” “Why?” “Stop that.” “How come?” “STOP THAT!” I imagine this is going on behind closed doors in Tallahassee, too. Because it seems like our governor and the Legislature want to fool around in things that judges and the federal government keep telling them to stay away from. Read more here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/temper-tantrums-in-tallahassee/1233408.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Justice Barbara Pariente Says Rick Scott Will Make Court ‘Partisan’

Oy Vey! Five days after getting trounced in a GOP straw poll in Tampa, Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente went partisan at a synagogue in Delray Beach. Read more here: http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/blog/justice-barbara-pariente-says-rick-scott-will-make-court-partisan.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Fla. Supreme Court: Protect Merit Retention

Politics in Florida are becoming ever more divided. Partisan Republicans and Democrats don’t have much to say to one another, unless it is in the form of an attack ad. The trend is national, with Republican conservatives moving steadfastly further to the right under tea party pressure, but it is more extreme in Florida. Read more here: http://www.theledger.com/article/20120527/EDIT01/205275013?tc=ar.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Florida Supreme Court justice speaks at W. Delray temple

Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente made a case to keep her job during a recent appearance at Temple Emeth in Delray Beach. Pariente is one of three justices facing merit retention in November, when the state’s voters decide on whether to let them keep their positions. Read more here: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/palm-beach/delray-beach/fl-cn-justice-0527-20120525,0,4302155.story.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Guide is part of judicial election education effort

With mailings, billboards, the Internet, and TV, voters will have plenty of information about candidates and issues on the 2012 election ballot. But when it comes to judicial races, it’s another matter. Read more here: http://www.floridabar.org/divcom/jn/jnnews01.nsf/8c9f13012b96736985256aa900624829/dd1207a5956da82a85257a0500468f4b!OpenDocument.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Cursory review of three justices’ acts will do

The dust-up over using state employees to finalize election ballot paperwork for the merit retention of three Florida Supreme Court justices is more political jockeying than a legitimate concern over lawbreaking. A conservative legislator upset with the court is exploiting the situation by calling for a criminal investigation. In fact, public employees commonly notarize election documents, and a cursory review should suffice. Gov. Rick Scott should not inappropriately politicize the merit retention election in November … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Editorial: On their merit

Thirty-six years ago, Florida voters wisely approved a “merit-retention” system for state Supreme Court justices and judges on district courts of appeal. Read more here: http://www.gainesville.com/article/20120508/OPINION01/120509664/-1/news?Title=Editorial-On-their-merit

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Heartland Justice

We tend to think of people who play pivotal roles in the advancement of social justice — and who pay steep prices for it — as passionate advocates with intense connections to their cause. We imagine them as crusaders. Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/opinion/sunday/bruni-heartland-justice.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&hp.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Editorial: Judging on merit

Thirty-six years ago, a majority of Florida voters judiciously approved a “merit-retention” system for state Supreme Court justices and judges on district courts of appeal. Read more here: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20120507/OPINION/305079995.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Justices fire back in controversy over their campaign paperwork

Florida’s three Supreme Court justices, who are under fire for using court staff to assist them in their last-minute completion of their paperwork needed to meet the deadline for their merit retention campaigns, shot back on Thursday with a letter from a well-regarded constitutional law expert. Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/05/justices-fire-back-in-controversy-over-their-campaign-paperworks.html#storylink=cpy.

Posted in News | Tagged , | Comments Off

Florida court rules drug testing unconstitutional second time

Governor Rick Scott will continue to challenge the justice system in Florida, and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. This is the second time that our governor has lobbied the legislators in both Houses and pushed to get the drug testing bill passed. In 2011 and 2012, the governor has signed a bill for random drug testing for state employees, and both times the courts have ruled that the bill is unconstitutional. Read more here: http://www.thewestsidegazette.com/News/Article/Article.asp?NewsID=113517&sID=4&ItemSource=L

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

FL’s Fair Districts improves redistricting process, but state can go further

Friday’s Florida Supreme Court ruling that affirms the state Senate’s redistricting boundaries also points out the flaws in the system and the need for additional constitutional changes. One justice called for the establishment of an independent apportionment commission to take the process out of the hands of lawmakers who exert political influence over boundaries. That would lend greater credibility to redistricting. Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2012/05/02/4021338/fls-fair-districts-improves-redistricting.html#storylink=cpy.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Redistricting — legal, but flawed

In a matter of days two hurdles to holding an orderly election in November in Florida disappeared, clearing the way for candidates for 27 congressional districts, 40 state Senate seats and 120 state House seats to fire up their campaigns. Both hurdles involved the Legislature’s redistricting process, which for the first time was guided by two anti-gerrymandering constitutional amendments overwhelmingly approved by Florida voters in 2010. Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/01/2778049/redistricting-legal-but-flawed.html.

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Resist special-interest purge

This year, the most dishonest, unfair campaign will be waged against three candidates who barely can fight back. Those would be Florida Supreme Court Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince. They have been targeted by those who want a high court beholden to corporate interests. The sniping was in full view last week. Read more here: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/editorials/resist-special-interest-purge-2334409.html?cxtype=rss_editorials.

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

A justice’s helpful opinion

Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente did Floridians a favor Friday by clearly explaining the shortcomings of well-intended changes to the state’s redistricting regimen. Read more here: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20120501/OPINION/305019997?p=1&tc=pg.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Matt Reed: Beware move to oust Florida Supreme Court justices

Brevard case shows what’s at stake for industry before today’s Supreme Court By Matt Reed, Florida Today A Supreme Court case out of Palm Bay may exemplify the type of high-stakes yet little-known litigation that’s about to inspire a corporate-funded campaign to oust Florida justices. Read more here:  http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120501/COLUMNISTS0207/305010002/Matt-Reed-Beware-move-oust-justices?nclick_check=1.

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Governor Rick Scott angers Fla. election supervisors over rankings push

TALLAHASSEE, Fla – Florida’s election supervisors are rising up in opposition to Gov. Rick Scott in the wake of his push to rank them. State election officials have drawn up a list of rankings based on criteria that includes how quickly counties reported election results during the Jan. 31 presidential primary and when those counties set up early voting sites. Read more here: http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/political/governor-rick-scott-angers-fla-election-supervisors-over-rankings-push

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Florida Supreme Court rejects 25 Death Penalty appeals

25 men, including five convicted in Miami-Dade, had asked the Florida Supreme Court to toss their sentences. The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected appeals by 25 men on Death Row, including five from Miami-Dade, who claimed that their lawyers were ineffective in investigating their backgrounds before sentencing. The rulings were no surprise in the legal community after justices in December issued an opinion rejecting an appeal by a Pinellas County triple murderer who sought … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , | Comments Off

Gov. Rick Scott weighs investigation of Supreme Court justices for misdemeanors

The normally mundane issue of judicial retention may become part of a state police investigation. TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott is considering calling for an investigation into whether or not three Supreme Court justices are guilty of a misdemeanor in their scramble to get papers filed last week in their merit retention races. Rep. Scott Plakon, a Longwood Republican, had sent a letter to Scott on Thursday asking for the probe. The governor is evaluating … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Florida redistricting discussions shift from state Capitol to nearby courtrooms this week

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The state’s redistricting discussions shift this week from the Florida Capitol to a pair of courtrooms in Tallahassee. On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Terry Lewis will begin a hearing on challenges to the Republican-led Legislature’s redistricting map for Florida’s 27 congressional seats. Read more: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/f12fc0f8b578452088a282b90a2f1990/FL–Florida-Redistricting/

Posted in News | Tagged , | Comments Off

Sides changing in court debate

If the underlying issue weren’t so serious it would be great fun watching the Republicans spin on a dime to become passionate defenders of an independent judiciary. Scorn for “activist judges” has been a staple of the party’s playbook ever since it was Earl Warren’s Supreme Court. Now that it’s John Roberts’s court — or should we say Antonin Scalia’s? — and a Democratic president is calling them out, the rhetorical roles have reversed. Wasn’t … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged | Comments Off

Court clerks in Florida face cuts

Court cases in Lee and Collier counties could be delayed by budget cuts that target clerks’ offices across the state. The budget lawmakers presented to Gov. Rick Scott includes 7 percent cuts for clerks at a $31 million savings for the state. Scott has until April 21 to sign the budget. Over the past few years, clerks’ offices have had their funding slashed by 15 percent or more. As a result, there’s less staff to … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , | Comments Off

The price of justice

OUR OPINION: Court Clerks need funding restored or Floridians will experience more delays in civil cases By The Miami Herald Editorial If you file a suit, say for divorce, in a Florida court, you pay a handsome fee of $401, one of the highest filing fees in the nation. You may be under the impression that this is paying, at least in part, for the courts and for the county court clerk’s office that must … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , | Comments Off

In wake of ‘Taj Mahal’ scandal, Florida Supreme Court approves new lobbying rules for judges

TALLAHASSEE — Stung by public reaction to judges who lobbied state lawmakers into a $50 million courthouse many have dubbed a “Taj Mahal,” the Florida Supreme Court has established new rules that would muzzle individual judges who try to have their way with the Legislature. And some judges are not happy. The state’s circuit court judges have formally asked the state’s highest court to rescind the rules and at least engage in a public discussion … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged | Comments Off

Legal filings pan Florida redistricting do-over

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Democrats and groups that backed the Florida Constitution’s new anti-gerrymandering standards took aim at lawmakers’ revised Senate redistricting map in filings Tuesday with the state Supreme Court. All say the Republican-controlled Legislature’s do-over still violates the Fair Districts standards that the justices cited in kicking back the original map. They differ, though, on some of details including how minority districts should be drawn. Preserving minority voting rights is one of the Fair … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Florida High Court Hears Cases on Term Limits

TALLAHASSEE | Florida’s high court heard arguments Tuesday on whether county charters can trump the Florida Constitution when it comes to term limits for county commissioners. A ruling, which lawyers hope will come by the end of the month, could affect this year’s elections in Polk and other major Florida counties. Read more: http://www.theledger.com/article/20120411/NEWS/120419904/1410?Title=Florida-High-Court-Hears-Cases-on-Term-Limits-

Posted in News | Tagged , | Comments Off

Editorial: Justice under fire

The U.S. and Florida supreme courts’ critics try to undermine judicial authority and independence, and, in effect, weaken democracy. A strong, independent judicial system is a cornerstone of American democracy. Citizens depend on justices and judges who can make wise, sometimes unpopular, decisions without political meddling that might undermine their authority. The system works effectively, if not always to the liking of one group or another. There will always be winners and losers on any … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Activist? Sometimes Fla. lawmakers trump courts

When a leaking underground drainage system pitted roads and driveways and created sinkholes in lawns at a Winter Garden subdivision, homeowners sued the developer to cover the damage and repair costs. After conflicting rulings in lower courts, the case reached the Florida Supreme Court, which heard arguments on it in December. But before the justices had issued a ruling, the Florida Legislature stepped in like Judge Judy and moved to decide the case — and … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Ricky Polston Named Chief Justice-Elect of Florida

PRESS RELEASE 4/4/2012 – For Immediate Release Craig Waters PIO Florida Supreme Court (850) 414-7641 watersc@flcourts.org Ricky Polston Named Chief Justice-Elect of Florida TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Supreme Court today unanimously elected Ricky Polston – a man whose roots lie in the Panhandle town of Graceville – to become the state’s 55th Chief Justice starting July 1, 2012. Polston will become only the second Chief Justice from Jackson County and the first to come from … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Florida Democrats question Bondi’s delay in sending Senate redistricting plan to justices

TALLAHASSEE — A week after the Florida House approved the Legislature’s second attempt to draw new Senate districts, the plan Tuesday still had not been forwarded by Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi to the state Supreme Court. Read more: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/florida-democrats-question-bondis-delay-in-sending-senate-2281365.html  

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Super PACs, donors turn sights on judicial branch

ORLANDO — Just before sunset on a recent evening, scores of lawyers in dark suits and polished loafers streamed into the swanky 18th-floor ballroom of a downtown high-rise here. They sipped chardonnay and nursed Heinekens, munched on cheese cubes and made small talk. The invitation to the event had asked for a “suggested contribution” of $500 to each of three candidates, who were now mingling sheepishly among the crowd. They were no ordinary politicians. In … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Appeals court validates legislators’ legal shield, throws out lower court ruling

In a precedent-setting legal opinion, First District Court of Appeals Judge Phil Padovano ruled today that legislators are entitled to the common law immunity from prosecution and cannot be compelled to testify about how they arrived at their decisions. Download 1st DCA ruling on legislative immunity. The ruling reversed a trial court decision that had forced Rep. Rick Kriseman, a Tampa Democrat, and his aide to testify about the source of legal documents they obtained during the … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Supreme Court primed to take on 3-percent pension case, starting in September

The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to take up the case of state workers who sued the Legislature over its decision to require them to contribute 3 percent of their salaries to their requirement. Earlier this month, a circuit court judge ruled that the state’s 3-percent contribution plan was unconstitutional, potentially causing a $2 billion budget fiasco. Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/03/supreme-court-primed-to-take-on-3-percent-pension-case-starting-in-september.htm

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Florida Supreme Court Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince talked with Stetson Law students about the importance of the judicial system

Florida Supreme Court Justices Fred Lewis, Barbara J. Pariente and Peggy A. Quince spoke with students at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport on March 26 about the role of the judicial system and Florida’s merit retention system. All three justices formerly served as chief justices of Florida’s highest court. Stetson Law Professor Theresa Radwan moderated a noon-time panel discussion with the three justices. Read more: www.law.stetson.edu/news/index.php/2012/03/27/florida-supreme-court-justices-r-fred-lewis-barbara-pariente-and-peggy-quince-talked-with-stetson-law-students-about-the-importance-of-the-judicial-system

Posted in News | Tagged , | Comments Off

A disorderly court

OUR OPINION: Appointed judges bring more integrity to the bench By The Miami Herald Editorial The latest travails of Miami-Dade County Court Judge Ana Maria Pando should kick-start a statewide conversation about elected vs. appointed judges. That likely won’t happen. But it should. Studies have shown that appointed judges are far less likely to engage in or face allegations of corruption or ethical violations, boding well for judicial integrity. Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/26/2715536/a-disorderly-court.html

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Florida Supremes under the microscope

Perhaps never in Florida’s history have so many laws been challenged in court. In just the past few months, judges have overturned laws privatizing prisons, requiring drug testing for welfare recipients, banning physicians from asking patients gun-related questions and requiring state workers to contribute 3% to their pension plans. Rulings are forthcoming on challenges to new laws the Legislature passed last year. Click here to read more: http://www.review.net/section/detail/capitol-chatter-march-23/

Posted in News | Tagged , | Comments Off

No Way to Choose a Judge

In a serious setback for justice in Alabama, primary voters chose Roy Moore to be their candidate for chief justice of the State Supreme Court in November. He is now the odds-on favorite to win. You may remember that Mr. Moore lost that job in 2003 when a special ethics court removed him from the bench after he defied a court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Courtrooms are a place for justice — not street theater

A couple of attorneys I respect expressed concern last week about two words — “activist judge” — in the lead of my story about Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford’s ruling on the 3 percent Florida Retirement System contribution law. I’d put quotation marks around the term, and attributed it in a complete sentence to Senate President Mike Haridopolos lower in the story. But I realize those two words are a pejorative pairing, one we’ll be hearing a lot … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Supreme Court vs. Legislators, again: Tuition case goes to highest court

Fresh from smacking down the state Senate redistricting maps as unconstitutional, the Florida Supreme Court has decided to take up another lawsuit targeting Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island. This time, the court will rule over whether the state lawmakers—and not universities—have the power to set tuition rates. Currently, the Legislature sets tuition increases, with universities held to a 15-percent cap. Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/03/supreme-court-vs-legislators-again-tuition-case-goes-to-highest-court.htm

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Florida Senate flubbed its top priority

The Legislature is back in session, at additional taxpayer expense, to try again at redistricting. The Senate’s plan failed to meet a state constitutional mandate voters issued last year to avoid gerrymandering to benefit incumbents, the Florida Supreme Court ruled. Read more at Jacksonville.com: http://jacksonville.com/opinion/editorials/2012-03-16/story/florida-senate-flubbed-its-top-priority

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Open-door redistricting

After the Florida Supreme Court cast a dark cloud over the state Senate’s redistricting map, it behooves the Legislature to let some sunshine in. The court last week ruled that eight of the 40 new districts the Senate drew violated the Florida Constitution’s Fair Districts amendments. Among the disqualified were the proposed Panhandle Districts 1 and 3, which are almost identical to the current districts currently represented by Sens. Don Gaetz and Greg Evers. Read … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Florida Senate’s brazen redistricting trickery fails

Upon deeper review of the Florida Supreme Court decision on Friday invalidating the state Senate’s redistricting plan, a startling fact came to light: the Republican-dominated chamber’s brazen and arrogant attempt at protecting incumbents through the district numbering system. While justices cited constitutionally improper boundaries in eight of the 40 Senate districts, the court’s 234-page majority opinion also condemned trickery with numbers that improperly protects incumbents. Read more: http://www.bradenton.com/2012/03/15/3938742/florida-senates-brazen-redistricting.html Read more here:

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Florida Senate back at work, on court demand to redraw districts without political bias

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Legislature reconvened in a 15-day special session Wednesday to redraw Senate district boundaries rejected by the state Supreme Court, which ruled a first attempt was aimed chiefly at protecting ruling Republicans. Senate Reapportionment Chairman Don Gaetz sounded a conciliatory tone. Read more: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/florida-senate-back-at-work-on-court-demand-2238194.html

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Senate doesn’t want new Cong. maps until after elections; wasn’t Don Gaetz calling this a “conspiracy theory” in Sept.?

Mary Ellen Klas reportstonight that the Florida Senate is asking the courts to wait until after the November elections to hear a challenge to the congressional redistricting maps that were built using the same principles the high court has already rejected. “…under a reasonable schedule, it is practically impossible to resolve this case in time for any remedy to be implemented for the impending elections,” wrote lawyers for the Florida Senate in a scheduling brief filed Monday … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Redistricting Retry May Bring Major Effects

Florida Senate leaders hope a few tweaks can fix their state Supreme Court-­invalidated redistricting plan, but any changes could have a domino effect on local and statewide politics. Among the impacts as the Senate convenes Wednesday for a 15-day special legislative session on redistricting: Whether Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, will be eligible for another six years in office rather than the typical four-year term and the shape of the two main Senate districts that cover … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Local legislators reflect on session’s successes, heartbreaks

The saber rattling on one end of Northwest Florida as the legislative session drew to a close contrasted mightily with a barely remarked upon act of chivalry playing out on the other. Read more: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articles/legislature-48141–.html  

Posted in News | Tagged | Comments Off

Florida Supreme Court upholds will of the people

Good for the Florida Supreme Court for disregarding demands that it take a timid approach to interpreting the state constitution, and to respecting the will of the voters. Read more: http://www.news-press.com/article/20120313/OPINION/303130013/1075/Florida-Supreme-Court-upholds-will-people

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Schultz: Conservatives in Tallahassee aren’t true conservatives

A truly conservative Florida Legislature would not have done what the 2012 Legislature tried to do to the state court system. A truly conservative Florida Legislature would not even have considered giving the governor complete power to pick judges. But despite its claims to the contrary, this is not a conservative Florida Legislature. It is an ideological Florida Legislature that doesn’t believe in separation of powers. http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/columnists/schultz-conservatives-in-tallahassee-arent-true-conservatives-2228428.html  

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Highlights of the Supreme Court ruling on redistricting

Highlights from the redistricting opinion summarized by the Miami Herald:  http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/03/highlights-of-the-supreme-court-ruling-on-redistricting.html

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

A victory to preserve voters’ will

The Florida Supreme Court on Friday followed the will of the voters who demanded more reasonably drawn legislative districts. The court’s landmark redistricting opinion thoughtfully defined the constitutional amendment approved in 2010 and invalidated new state Senate districts for clearly failing to meet those requirements. This is a victory for Floridians who want fair elections and a sound defeat for drawing maps that rig the outcomes and protect incumbents. http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/article1219285.ece

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Alex Villalobos: Florida served well by ruling on districts

By Alex VillalobosMarch 10, 2012   Fair and impartial administration of justice is a difficult and delicate balancing act — and it is one that I believe all seven members of the Florida Supreme Court perform admirably day in and day out. Floridians are well served when tough questions are met with thorough debate and analysis and decided based on each individual Justices careful consideration of what they believe to be mandated by our state … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Editorial: The new rules

The Florida Legislature has pretty much always undertaken its once-every-decade redistricting chore with two paramount objectives: To protect incumbents and to keep the ruling party in power. That was true when the Democrats ran the Legislature, and it is true now that the Republicans are in charge. But now there are a whole new set of rules in place, complements of Florida voters who approved two “Fair Districts” amendments to the state Constitution. http://www.gainesville.com/article/20120310/OPINION01/120309596/1109/sports?Title=Editorial-The-new-rules&tc=ar

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Statement on redistricting ruling from Democracy at Stake

Following is a statement issued by former Senator Alex Villalobos on behalf of Democracy at Stake:  “Fair and impartial administration of justice is a difficult and delicate balancing act.    And it is one that the seven members of the Florida Supreme Court perform admirably day in and day out.    “The politically charged debate over redistricting has focused public attention on a deliberative process that is business as usual for our state’s high court.  The … Continue reading

Posted in Statements, Supporters | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

What they’re saying about Florida Supreme Court’s redistricting rulings

House Speaker Dean Cannon: “We appreciate the preparation, thorough review and thoughtfulness of the court’s response. Throughout the redistricting process, the House demonstrated a commitment to following the letter of the law, and I am proud of Speaker-Designate Weatherford and all of our Members who worked so hard to craft this new map. We understand the difficulty of the court’s duty to review the application of new constitutional language. We appreciate the court providing input as … Continue reading

Posted in News, Statements | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Supreme Court tosses proposed Senate maps

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court on Friday tossed out the proposed state Senate legislative maps, forcing lawmakers to start over in a special session later this month. http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/workinglife/supreme-court-tosses-proposed-senate-maps/1219161

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Bill to give Fla. Gov. Rick Scott more power to pick judges stalls

  TALLAHASSEE — A proposal to give Gov. Rick Scott more power over the courts appeared dead Wednesday amid a disagreement on whether Scott should be able to fire people appointed by former Gov. Charlie Crist to a panel that helps select judges.   http://www.bradenton.com/2012/03/08/3925629/bill-to-give-fla-gov-rick-scott.html#storylink=cpy  

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Editorial: Going backward on judicial selection

Back in 1939, a member of the judiciary, identified in a legal critique only as “unusually candid,” sought to deflate judicial pomposity by defining a judge as “a lawyer who knew a governor.” Read more: http://www.ocala.com/article/20120305/OPINION01/120309850

Posted in News | Tagged , | Comments Off

Inside Merit Selection: The Results of a National Survey of Nominating Commissioners

News Release   AJS Releases Results of Largest-Ever Survey of Judicial Nominating Commissioners   Des Moines, IA, — March 6, 2012 —As states work to ensure highly qualified, knowledgeable, accessible, adaptable, and accountable judiciaries, the methods used to select judges frequently engender fervent debate, especially during election cycles.   In recent years, many states that elect judges have witnessed increasing campaign spending and bitter rhetoric, leading some to consider the adoption of merit selection, a … Continue reading

Posted in News, Statements, Supporters | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Sen. Pres. Mike Haridopolos Blasts Judge, Talks Redistricting (VIDEO)

[Tallahassee, FL] As the 2012 Legislative Session winds down and a few court battles are heating up. Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R-26/Merritt Island) weighs in on both, letting the judge have it, in one, and predicting the Florida Supreme Court‘s decision, in another. Read m0re: http://www.sunshineslate.com/2012/03/06/mike-haridopolos-blasts-judge-redistricting-video/

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Court ruling will affect maps, future redistricting

In the next few days, the Florida Supreme Court may be making one of its most important decisions in recent history when it rules on the constitutionality of redistricting maps recently approved by the Legislature. Read more: http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/court-ruling-will-affect-maps-future-redistricting/1218480

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Florida Senate president predicts special session on redistricting

Senate President Mike Haridopolos all but admitted defeat Monday in the first round of court reviews over the legislature’s redistricting map and predicted lawmakers would be back in a special session to revamp their maps. “We’re going to be here for extraordinary session, my guess, I think, given the give and take last week in the Supreme Court,” Haridopolos told reporters Monday. Read more: http://www.bradenton.com/2012/03/05/3919131/florida-senate-president-predicts.html

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Justices’ decision should ease fears

Nothing is more fundamental to our society than faith in the honesty of the political system. Without that trust — the belief that elections are run honestly — our whole society is shaken because the exercise of political power determines how we, as a society, operate: How much taxes each of us pays and how many services the government provides, and who has access to those services. Read more: http://www.newschief.com/article/20120303/NEWS/203035004

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Florida House ties women/minority law student scholarships to changes to state merit selection system

I mentioned back in January the effort in Florida to allow governors to replace a majority of the members of the state’s judicial nominating commissions. What made the provisions of HB 971 and the similar SB 1570 even more notable than the change to merit selection was their tying of the changes to changes in the state’s judicial retirement system, arguably to the advantage of judges recalled back into temporary service by the state’s chief … Continue reading

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Supreme Court hears redistricting arguments

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a landmark redistricting case that could shape the political future of Florida for at least a decade. At issue: How far justices could go in enforcing the anti-gerrymandering Fair Districts amendments approved by the voters in a November 2010 referendum. Read more: http://www.flcourier.com/flflorida/7744-supreme-court-hears-redistricting-arguments-

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Justices hear Florida redistricting arguments

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Republican-controlled Legislature drew its redistricting plan “in the dark” and the House and Senate maps should be sent back so lawmakers can try again after receiving some guidance from the Florida Supreme Court, a Democratic lawyer told the justices Wednesday. Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/29/2666870/justices-hearing-florida-redistricting.html

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Comments Off