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An independent judiciary is to tyrants as sunlight to vampires - €”Martin Dyckman
As you may well know, our Florida state legislature is overwhelmingly Republican (even though our state has more Dems).  On top of that, we have the worst, most radical, most tea-party aligned governor in the nation who rightfully has the lowest approval ratings of any governor in modern history.

The only thing that has kept our state from sinking into complete tea party excrement is the Court system.  Our Florida supreme court is evenly balanced, and they have been a voice of sanity in this crazy state.  And boy have they paid a price.  From having their funding cut,  to REPEATED legislative attempts to curb their authority, to the current disastrous Amendment 5 on the ballot this year that would give the Legislature direct authority over the courts!  (Dear God, people.. VOTE NO ON ALL FLORIDA AMENDMENTS THIS YEAR!!)

But the most cynical and devasting attack would be the removal of three sitting state supreme court justices who have previously ruled against governor egghead.  They have CONSISTENTLY, for two years, been the target of the governor and his right-wing ally'€™s wrath:  Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince.  If Scott is successful in getting rid of them this election, he will get to replace all of them....

This is why Scott has been hellbent on removing them from the bench.  There have been THREE blatant attempts so far to get rid of them:

  1. The first came when Tricky Ricky worked with the GOP legislature to divide the court in two branches, and pledged to put these THREE judges (who have been there the longest) on a newly created "criminal division".  Almost worked but it fell apart at the end.
  2. The second came when Gov Scott attempted to smear these particular justices by ordering state law enforcement to investigate if they used court employees to help prepare election documents.  This is common practice among all judges; and they were cleared of any wrong doing.  Rick Scott was furious
  3. Now #3.  The Florida GOP, in an unprecedented partisan assault, voted last week to formally oppose these three Supreme Court justices during their merit retention this Fall.  They said they were "extreme" and cited their disapproval in a nine-year old murder case (yeah, right).  Up until last week, there was only a shadowy tea party group, Restore Justice 2012, whose sole purpose has been to push these three justices off the bench.  But the FL GOP adds more funds and muscle.And now, the Koch Brothers have gotten into the act.

    Those two greedy bastards are spending millions to run attack ads against the justices.  Again, unprecedented.  Their front group, Americans for Prosperity, released the first of what they said would be series of ads.  If you care to see it, look just below.  The attack is some garbage about the Supreme Court rejecting a proposed constitutional amendment against Obamacare.   (BTW, the three justices were joined by two others in ruling that the non-binding amendment included a misleading summary that made numerous promises such as ensuring "€œaccess to health care services without waiting lists".€)

    This merit retention system of judges was put in place to keep the state’s high court above politics.  The intent was never to try to pack the court with ideologues.

    This is so bad that even JEB Bush came out against it.  (He's a saint in Florida politics.)  Other Republicans have called this out for what it is.  The former RPOF chairman said this action should scare Floridians to death.  All the newspapers, the other Supreme Court justices, along with 23 former presidents of the state bar, have also all decried this as a power grab.   (To which Rick Scott would say, "well duh...")

    Please HELP!  Destroying the Court will give Scott unlimited power, and my state can't handle much more.   This is perhaps the most important statewide election this year, and the GOP is counting on people not being too engaged on this.  

    This merit retention election will determine whether Scott gets two more years in office... or two decades of his bitter legacy!!

    Two PACS have been created to fight this injustice, and they need help: Defend Justice Florida and Democracy at Stake.

    Websites for the justices:

    Finally, here's a sticker for your car.  First time I used zazzle.  If I get any royalties, I promise it will go to help fight for these folks.  (I think it's just a few cents per sticker, but I'll kick in a few bucks as well.  The goal here is awareness anyway.)



    In a way, Rick Scott IS on the ballot this year.  EVERYONE who votes for Obama and Nelson, please vote YES to retain all the FL Supreme Court justices this election!

Originally posted to SemDem on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 05:29 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Florida.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

    The Seminole Democrat
    Confronting the criminally insane who rule our state; as well as the apathy of the vast majority who let them.

    by SemDem on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 05:29:01 AM PDT

  •  I'm so happy I quit my state job (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, retLT, decktrio

    And even happier it costs the State of Florida almost double to replace me with 2 new employees. No way I was ever going to work for the crook!

    I love George Takei for being aware and honest and sharing. And "the best damn pilot in the universe."

    by PHScott on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 05:42:13 AM PDT

    Recommended by:
    markthshark, jbob, retLT

    Totally agree - too many "pregnant pigs" in there

    I love George Takei for being aware and honest and sharing. And "the best damn pilot in the universe."

    by PHScott on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 05:44:02 AM PDT

    •  This cannot be stated enough... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PHScott, jbob
      Even the freebie newspapers in my area, "The Pelican Press" and "The Beachcomber" are running articles on how long and confusing the ballots are going to be this year.

      I urge all my fellow liberals in the Sunshine State to request an absentee ballot this year so you can take your time to read it thoroughly before marking it up. The amendments are intentionally confusing and insidious as all hell.

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 06:10:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rick Scott would be lying if he said (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "I am not a crook."

    Thank God there are Koch-free Republicans. But they are so far and so few.

  •  Thanks so much for this. I've been (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PHScott, decktrio

    dreading the ballot and never hear anything about what exactly it contains. Thank you, I'm going to read this when I return home. Have to go out now.

    You are doing great work. Maybe re-publish later in day?

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 06:45:57 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for your diary on this. I spent 3 hours+ (0+ / 0-)

    looking into the ballot and this in particular this weekend. Hadn't seen your diary then and wanted to know what to expect. I guess it'd take people at least 1/2 hour to vote on this ballot which in itself is a crime. It was not easy either finding brief explanations about the court issues. And one article said that a study showed 90% of people in FL had no understanding of what the court did.

    They should not be allowed such a long ballot in a presidential election, so did they do this on purpose, I suppose they did! Also the way they confuse the voter by the way they phrase questions is an abomination!

    Btw, what about Amendment #2? I thought that might be a yes vote.

    I was shocked. I don't get any state news from the Gainesville news station, well precious little, especially political issues.

    The Koch brothers for God's sake, doing this, and trying to run the state. Did you read about how Republican $$$'s are running the state of SC to such an extent that the governor just flits around pursuing her own career and they tell her what to do. It was a great diary, if you didn't see it.

    I really admire your determination and efforts in doing these diaries, SemDem!

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 10:50:37 AM PDT

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