RES PUBLICA

Politics, Politicians, and Current Events Examined

Archive for the ‘judicial retention’ Category

Should Florida Supreme Court Justices Pariente, Quince, and Lewis Get the Boot?

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Judicial Retention Sample Ballot

By Spartacus Thrace

An issue facing Florida’s voters in the November 2012 election is:  Should Barbara J. Pariente, Peggy A. Quince, and R. Fred Lewis each be allowed to keep their jobs as justices on the Florida Supreme Court?

Each is up for a merit retention vote this year, and each has generated considerable controversy with decisions that opponents describe as anti-democratic judicial activism in denigration of constitutional rule of law in Florida.  In particular, each has been accused of overstepping their authority in making law, as opposed to interpreting existing law, with far-reaching consequences for the people of the state.

Separation of Powers

As with all other states, Florida has organized its government upon the democratic premise that when a single person or group has too much power, that person or group can become dangerous to the citizens.  To prevent such concentration of power, Florida has embraced the trias politica principle espoused by John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu, which separates the government into distinct executive, legislative, and judicial divisions.  The Florida constitution also gives each branch certain defined powers not shared with the other branches, a concept knows as “separation of powers.”

Florida’s scheme of separation of powers is set forth in Article II of the state constitution which provides:

The powers of the state government shall be divided into legislative, executive and judicial branches. No person belonging to one branch shall exercise any powers appertaining to either of the other branches unless expressly provided herein.1 Read the rest of this entry »

SB 428: Fired Judges Employment and Popular Vote Nullification Act of 2011 Filed in Florida Senate

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Neutralizing the pink slip of democracy.

By Le Corbeaunoir

UPDATE: SB 428 and its House counterpart, HB 1033, died in their respective Judiciary Committees on May 7, 2011.

The 2010 elections were a wakeup call for members of the Florida political elite who both enjoy being in the ruling class and hate the uncertainties of democracy. Some are beginning to devise ways to push back against the popular will when it comes to deciding who is or is not suited to remain on the bench.

Let’s put this in perspective: Imagine that the you and the majority of the voters in a democratic election choose to fire and replace a sitting state trial court judge, appellate court judge, or a supreme court justice as being unfit to serve on the bench any longer.  Then imagine that a short time later you and everyone else who voted the same way you did learn that the person you and the majority rejected as not fit to serve on the bench is in fact back on the bench judging cases. Incredibly, this is exactly what could happen if Senate Bill (SB) 428 becomes law. Read the rest of this entry »

The Coming 2012 Judicial Races In Pinellas County

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(Photo Credit: The Florida Bar)

By Angry Wasp

While I was at the local K-Mart the other day, I ran into one of my cop friends. He was talking to me about having to go to court two weeks ago to testify in front of some judge about a drunk driver. As he was telling me what happened in court and what he thought of the judge, I realized that I didn’t know much about who the local judges are, how much they are paid, or when they are on the ballot. After talking to several of my friends about this, I got the impression that a lot of people are in the same boat when it comes to knowing anything about our judges. Geez, I thought, this isn’t good with all the crap going on in government today.

So I sat down at the computer to find out what I could. The first thing I found out is that the judiciary is kind of like a secret arm of the government when it comes to finding out about individual judges. There is next to squat out there when it comes to detailed information.

I was able, however, to get a lot of salary information, and I found an interesting national survey of judicial salaries here. I also found the following salary information in the Governor’s FY 2010-2011 Recommended General Appropriations Act, in Section 8, on page 340: Read the rest of this entry »

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