Partisan politics should butt out from Florida’s high court retention vote

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Florida Supreme Court Justices R. Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince, and Barbara Pariente visited the BayNews9 studios in early 2012

Florida Supreme Court Justices R. Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince, and Barbara Pariente visited the BayNews9 studios in early 2012

Florida’s highest court is under attack.  A campaign to remove three of the Supreme Court Justices  in November’s election  was recently started by the Florida Republican Executive Committee and financed by Charles and David Koch, who are behind the conservative Super PAC Americans for Prosperity.   Being targeted are Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince. While the merit retention vote occurs every six years, this is the first time there has been a serious push to remove sitting justices.   Partisan politics has no place in the merit retention election.

 These Justices are highly respected by ALL in the Bar (all lawyers polled overwhelmingly believe the Justices are fair and well qualified and perform their jobs well – see the Bar poll results.  These Justices were selected by the Governor after a difficult and rigorous process “ You can view their qualifications here.

Florida picked œMerit Retention Elections because it is designed to evaluate whether justices are qualified and fair.  Our forefathers believed that if we allow politics to infect the Justice system, then that threatens all of us.  Don’t be fooled by slick political ads, paid for by out of state billionaires seeking political favors. 

 Our Justices were selected for office by an independent commission (the Judicial Nominating Commission) who reviews dozens of applications and then picks the 3-6 most highly qualified candidates.  Their names are then given to the Governor, who also investigates them and then picks one of them for the Supreme Court for the open seat.  After that, the Justices stand for a œMerit Retention “ which was designed NOT to be a political contest “ because Judges are PROHIBITED from engaging in a political campaign by arguing issues that might come before them “ in other words “ ethics ties their hands behind their backs in any political campaign.  

 The people attacking the Justices this year are doing so for political reasons and know the Justices are restricted in how they can respond.

 If this campaign to remove the Justices succeeds, this will have a lasting effect on the integrity of our court system, a court system that I pledged to protect as a lawyer. 

 The partisan slant of this campaign is causing many to speak out against this grave injustice – even Jacksonville Times Union writer Ron Littlepage.  Mr. Littlepage writes that  there should be  an independent judiciary, insulated from politics.  This theory is not new.  It  is what our founding fathers wanted when they established this great nation we live in. 

If you support justice and the three Supreme Court Justices , you can help retain them by promoting the video located at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOdLJMzuSrE

Share the video by visting YouTube: and clicking on the œshare button located right under the video. There you will see a Facebook, Twitter and Google+ button that will allow you to share on any or all of these sites:

  

If every one of you does not do something to help – our system will never be the same. You need to help protect our court system from a political takeover now.

 

 

Other Links to Stories About the FL Supreme Court Merit Retention Race
BayNews9
Carl Hiaasen from Miami Hearld: Billionare Koch brother trying to buy FL Supreme
Tallahassee.com: Justices make plea in retention votes 
New York Times: Impartial Justice at Risk 

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