Battle lines drawn over Florida Supreme Court retention votes

4:56 PM, Sep 11, 2012   |    comments
The Florida Supreme Court
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Tallahassee, Florida - Conservative political groups are working to toss three justices off the Florida Supreme Court because conservatives think the justices are too liberal.

Now supporters are lining up in defense of Justices Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince and Fred Lewis, who face a merit retention vote in November.

A group called Restore Justice 2012 has put together a scorecard that gives an "F" to the justices on such issues as homeowners' rights, education and criminal justice. But that scorecard is not fair, according to former president of the American Bar Association and state lawmaker Sandy D'Alemberte.

He says the scorecard is not only inaccurate, it's incomplete because it's based on about ten cases of the thousands they've handled.

D'Alemberte says a survey of lawyers who appear before the justices and know their work shows 90 percent support the justices for retention.

"That strikes me as saying this is a really good group of justices and I think it's overall a good court. I don't always agree with all members of the court but there are three characteristics of all members of this court. They're all smart, they all work hard and they're all honest."

Floridians will decide in November whether those three Supreme Court justices and 15 appellate judges should keep their jobs.

In Florida's merit retention system, you mark your ballot with a "yes" or "no" on whether a judge should be retained for another term of six years.

You can learn more about the merit retention system at www.floridabar.org/thevotesinyourcourt.

Dave Heller

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