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Four of Florida's seven Supreme Court Justices are on the ballot for a merit retention (up or down) vote.  All were appointed by Charlie Crist when he was a Republican.  Two of the justices in particular, Justice James Perry and Justice Jorge LaBarga, are under attack by the right wing because they voted to remove an initiative from the ballot.  

The initiative was a referendum on limiting Florida's participation in health care reform, placed on the ballot by the legislature.  In Florida, the entire proposal does not go on the ballot, just a summary.  The summary language the legislature tried to put on the ballot was misleading.  It did not accurately describe what the initiative would do if enacted.  

The proponents of the initiative conceded that the ballot language was inaccurate, but they wanted the justices to rewrite it.  Because these justices are not judicial activists, they followed Florida law and refused to rewrite the summary, instead striking the initiative from the ballot.  Now they are being targeted for removal by the right wing.

Tea party and other similar groups are trying to oust these justices because they refused to be judicial activists and instead followed the law.  Without any sense of irony, they accusing the justices of being judicial activists.  These justices are moderates appointed by a Republican governor.  In fact, before he was appointed to the Supreme Court, Justice Perry was a trial court judge.  He was appointed to the trial court by Jeb Bush.

It is probably not a coincidence that the justices being attacked are the only minority justice up for retention this year.  Nor is it a coincidence that Justice Perry was a hero of the civil rights era, who took on the State of Georgia for refusing to allow African-Americans to join the bar.

The supreme court is no place for partisanship.  Justice should be administered fairly and impartially. Please circulate this message to your friends in Florida, post it on Facebook, and tweet it.  @flajudiciary, Vote to retain the Florida Justices and keep Florida's Court's free from political manipulation #flajudiciary #independentcourts


This general election, four Florida Supreme Court Justices are on the ballot for "merit retention," and we urge you to vote to keep them on the bench.  All Florida Supreme Court Justices must appear on the ballot every six years—a process that gives the people an opportunity to vote against justices who have acted unethically. This year, however, the justices on the ballot are being targeted for their legal opinion concerning a SINGLE issue. This is one precedent that should not be established and will lead us down a dangerous road.  Don’t allow these respected justices to be ousted because of a single legal opinion.  

Removing these justices from the bench would be a gross abuse of the merit-retention process, which is designed to oust members of the judiciary who have proven themselves unfit for office; it is never intended to be a political referendum based on a single opinion.  All of these justices are people of great experience, education and integrity, and they have done their best to render justice based on facts and law applicable to each case—not the popular political climate at the moment. These justices have proven their dedication to the justice system over the years and have based their decisions on the facts and the law rather than counting votes before a ruling.  Those seeking to remove these justices from the bench publicly admitted the justices were correct in their decision based on the facts and the law – they simply did not like the result.

We urge you to also follow the facts, and vote to retain all Florida Supreme Court justices on the ballot this year.  For more information on this issue, click HERE for a recent Orlando Sentinel Editorial urging retention of these justices.  (Hyperlink to Orlando Sentinel Editorial)

Florida Bar Members Polled on Merit Retention of Supreme Court Justices view results here:

Originally posted to webacknow on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 11:11 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'll vote to retain ... (4+ / 0-)

    because I agree with your point that merit retention ought not to be about politics.

    But I also take comfort in the idea that if any of them are removed, their replacements will be appointed by Gov. Alex Sink.

  •  Thanks for the information and the link (0+ / 0-)

    to the article. I've been googling to try and figure out the judges.

    Thanks again!

  •  Well, Charles Canady is a conservative who is (0+ / 0-)

    credited with coining the phrase "partial birth abortions" and with writing legislation to ban them.  He also was a force in Clinton's impeachment.

    Labarga voted against the option of having a new vote in the 2000 elections.

    Polston and Canady were for letting people revoke their signatures from the Amendment 4 petition, which was a dirty trick.

    Canady is definitely a no vote for me.  The other two need some more research.

    •  Canady (0+ / 0-)

      As a congressman Canady was awful.  On the court of appeal, he was conservative, but didn't seem to be a conservative activist. On the supreme court, he has been pretty much the same.  More conservative than I would like.  I may vote against him based on his overall philosophy.  But don't vote against him based on one vote on one case. Polston is also pretty conservative in general, but also does not seem to be an activist on the bench.  On the district court, he was sometimes pretty progressive on tort and kids issues. I didn't know Labarga was involved in the 2000 elections, but I don't think there was anything in the law that would have provided for a revote and I wouldn't vote against him based just on that.  And remember, it might be Rick Scott picking their replacements.  Right now the court is pretty well balanced.  Progressives win a lot of issues up there.

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