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Wayne Parsons
Wayne Parsons
Attorney • (808) 845-2211

Justice in Hawaii: storm warning from Florida Supreme Court election

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Democracy is often equated with justice and giving power to the people. Popular elections are held up as the hallmark of freedom. In Florida they elect their judges _ something we don't do in Hawaii _ and what is going on with the Florida Supreme Court elections in 2012, shows how elections with a popular vote are not always good for the people.

In Florida, powerful corporate right wing interests are pouring money into retention elections and targeting justices whose prior decisions have gone against these powerful money interests. Retention elections in Florida have been historically uncontroversial as long as the Justice has behaved ethically. But now the anti-justice corporate billionaires, are picking on Florida Supreme Court Justices who have no ability to match the money power coming into the state from these corporate sources.who

But according to John Hopkins, a Florida attorney who is trying to get the truth out to the public, it isn't just money that is being thrown into the election by these corporate forces, but the misrepresentation of facts that is being used against these Justices. Dirty Tricks"

These groups have now thrown stones at these justices claiming they violated the law when they filed their papers in order to qualify for retention. Scott Plakon is spending a great deal of time and has even written to the governor demanding that the justices be investigated.

Why?

Because the justices had employees in the clerk's office notarize their filing papers. Now, understand that the clerk's office has clearly stated they notarize for any Florida citizen. That, however, has not stopped groups like Jesse Phillips' Restore Justice or career politicians like Scott Plakon.

It turns out that Governor Scott would like to get rid of these Justices according to a report from the Huffington Post:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) almost got the opportunity to replace three state Supreme Court justices, thanks to a near-hiccup with election paperwork.

On Friday, Justices Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince nearly missed the deadline to qualify for the ballot, the Associate Press reports. They filed the necessary paperwork just minutes before the state’s noon deadline, and only after the court put a hearing on hold.

Supreme Court justices in Florida are appointed by the governor and are subject to a merit-based vote every six years. Lewis, Pariente, and Quince were all appointed with the support of Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles. Had the justices missed the filing deadline, Scott could have appointed three new ones.

Scott’s relationship with the Florida Supreme Court was shaken last year when the court ruled against him in a 5-2 decision, saying that Scott had “overstepped his constitutional authority” by issuing an executive order freezing all pending rules until he could approve them — essentially hijacking the legislature’s rulemaking authority and violating the separation of powers, in the opinion of the court.

The public must protect the independence of the judiciary _ the peoples' branch of government _ from attacks by special interests and Big Mopney. Hopefully the voters will go to polls and fend off these attacks by outsiders.