(the Florida Supreme Court)
Circuit Judge Terry Lewis ruled yesterday that the three Florida Supreme Court justices up for merit retention will remain on the ballot in November. The justices up for a retention vote are R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince.
Lewis dismissed a lawsuit seeking to disqualify the Supreme Court justices from the ballot because they used court-appointed staff to notarize their qualifying paperwork.
Background: This lawsuit was not simply about concern over the use of notaries - the entire push to remove these justices from the ballot is politically motivated.
- Lewis, Pariente and Quince are the last remaining justices on the Court who were appointed by a Democrat (Governor Lawton Chiles)
- Republicans are gearing up an effort to politicize these judicial merit retention votes - this lawsuit was just the beginning. A “nonpartisan” group has already been formed in preparation to spend thousands of dollars come November in an effort to get the justices voted out
This is not just bad because I am a Democrat. This is bad because we are seeing the beginning of an effort to politicize the judiciary branch in Florida, which would be a dangerous move. The merit retention vote to keep Florida’s Supreme Court justices on the court has been, historically, a largely ceremonial matter.
If judges and justices actually had to run for reelection, make political deals, and raise a lot of campaign money, just imagine what it could do to our court system.
[Source: Tampa Bay Times]