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Posts Tagged ‘merit retention

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 »

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