Tag Archives: courts under attack
Amendment 5 is one of the 11 legislatively proposed amendments to Florida’s constitution on the November ballot. It presents three different and distinct proposed changes to how Florida’s court system is constitutionally structured. Read more here: http://www2.tbo.com/news/opinion/2012/oct/28/vwviewo1-a-threat-to-our-courts-ar-545818/.
It was an omen. Our Monday front page had stories about two issues sure to make your head hurt. One was about immigration and new rules affecting young people. Instead of helping, those rules make matters more tangled and confusing and only deepen the national divide. They are yet another sign we really aren’t serious about defining who is welcome and who is not. Read more here: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/aug/26/jeff-lytle-it-was-an-omen/.
This year, 32 states will be holding contested elections or retention votes for judges on their highest courts. An ideological battle inFlorida, an expensive and partisan one in North Carolina and others are providing uncomfortable lessons about why judges on the highest courts should be appointed rather than elected. Elections turn judges into politicians, and the need to raise money to finance ever more expensive campaigns makes the judiciary more vulnerable to improper influence by donors. Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/opinion/judicial-elections-and-the-bottom-line.html?_r=1.
Florida is one of three states this year that will vote on a ballot measure in November that, if passed, will politicize state courts. According to a report from the Center for American Progress, from 2011 to 2012, legislators in 24 states introduced laws or resolutions that would “enable governors to replace competent state judges, a power that would, in practice, result in more conservative replacements in states across the country.” Of those 24 states where such … Continue reading
Even in a presidential election year, the state’s most dishonest campaign is the attempt to kick three justices off the Florida Supreme Court. The new tactic is a lawsuit alleging that justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince are not qualified to be on the November ballot because they supposedly had court staff illegally assist them in completing election paperwork. Last week, Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis threw out the lawsuit, ruling … Continue reading
It was a highly unusual move in the middle of a high profile hearing beforeFlorida’s highest court. The court will now take a ten-minute recess. Read more here: http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Supreme-Court-Shake-Up-165533156.html.
TALLAHASSEE — A lawsuit by a conservative legal organization looking to remove from the ballot the last three Florida Supreme Court justices named by a Democratic governor was dismissed Wednesday by a Leon County circuit judge. Read more here: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/judge-dismisses-lawsuit-trying-to-throw-3-fla-just/nQDnr/.
TALLAHASSEE – A Leon County Circuit Court judge dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday by a conservative legal group attempting to remove three Florida Supreme Court justices from the November ballot. Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/08/2940887/judge-rejects-lawsuit-attempting.html.
THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, August 8, 2012……….A Leon County judge Wednesday tossed out a suit seeking to block three sitting Supreme Court justices from the November election ballot, the latest chapter in an ongoing saga about how the trio filed their qualifying papers. Read more here: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-08-08/news/os-florida-supreme-court-justices-lawsuit-20120808_1_justices-barbara-pariente-peggy-quince.
TALLAHASSEE— A trial judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit aimed at throwing three of his seven bosses — Florida Supreme Court justices — off the Nov. 6 ballot, where they are seeking retention in an up or down vote. Read more here: http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2012-08-09/story/florida-judge-dismisses-lawsuit-aimed-candidates-justice.
TALLAHASSEE — A high-stakes battle in Florida is brewing over the retention of three Florida Supreme Court justices, pitting Gov. Rick Scott and tea party activists against a bipartisan coalition of lawyers. Read more here: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/national-govt-politics/florida-supremes-face-political-battle-to-keep-job/nPsqM/.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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/
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
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
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
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
[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/
Activists are targeting Florida’s court system once again. Surprisingly enough, the activist in charge is accusing three Supreme Court Justices of alleged “judicial activism”. He wants them removed. How come some always claims to be following the Constitution…except when it comes to the part that guarantees an independent judiciary? We saw it last year when the Florida House, firmly under the control of the Far Right, tried to water down the powers of the Florida … Continue reading
Imagine what would happen if a football coach handpicked referees for all of his games. Even the home crowd would be outraged. It violates the whole premise of fair play. Now imagine giving anyone similar influence over the rulings issued by a court of law. That is exactly what some of your elected leaders are seeking, and legislation moving toward approval in Tallahassee moves them closer to that goal. Some claim the changes in the … Continue reading
NORTHFIELD, N.H. – Taking a page from rival Newt Gingrich, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Thursday leveled tough criticism at the judiciary, saying judges have become too powerful and that as president he would do away with some courts. Speaking to a crowd of 200 at a town hall at Merrimack Valley Railroad, Santorum said the courts needs to be reined in. “The third branch of government is in fact too powerful in the … Continue reading
Illustration by Matt Mahurin Court-packing and other devices legislators employ to control their justice systems are almost as old as the Constitution itself. I In 1801 the lame-duck Federalist Congress and outgoing President John Adams raised opponents’ ire with bills that allowed Adams to appoint dozens of their party faithful to judgeships, including Chief Justice John Marshall. Marshall, of course, also famously introduced the principle of judicial review, declaring in his seminal 1803 opinion Marbury … Continue reading
WASHINGTON — With just weeks to go before the Iowa Caucus, Newt Gingrich has turned his presidential campaign into a veritable megaphone warning about the dangers and elitism of America’s judicial system. The former House Speaker held a half-hour phone call on Saturday during which he pledged to abolish courts and eliminated activist judges he believed were either outside the mainstream or infringing too deeply on the commander in chief’s authority. On Sunday, he followed … Continue reading
Two former attorneys general under President George W. Bush have found a few things to like in Newt Gingrich’s position paper on reining in the authority of the federal courts, but other parts, they say, are downright disturbing. Some of the ideas are “dangerous, ridiculous, totally irresponsible, outrageous, off-the-wall and would reduce the entire judicial system to a spectacle,” said former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. In a 28-page position paper entitled, “Bringing the Courts Back Under … Continue reading
The Republican presidential hopefuls have been saying alarming things about the federal courts. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum want to abolish the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which Mr. Gingrich says is “consistently radical” — meaning it upholds civil rights and civil liberties and other things he doesn’t like. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul say they would forbid the Supreme Court from ruling on same-sex marriage, forgetting perhaps that presidents don’t … Continue reading
Here’s a profound paradox: Republican candidates for president are competing for conservative votes by advancing increasingly radical proposals for eviscerating the federal judiciary. Texas Gov. Rick Perry favors a constitutional amendment giving Congress veto power over Supreme Court decisions and would end lifetime tenure for federal judges. Rep. Michele Bachmann says Congress should bar the courts from considering controversial issues such as same-sex marriage. Rep. Ron Paul would give voters the right to oust federal … Continue reading
The way some Republican presidential candidates are talking about the Supreme Court, we may see “Impeach Earl Warren!” billboards again. But even if the likes of Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum let the former chief justice (1953-69) rest in peace, their words about long-established traditions of our legal system recall years-ago campaigns to change the courts. In the late 1950s and early ’60s there was the effort to oust … Continue reading