The Phoenix Flyer

League of Women Voters of Florida, Common Cause, refile lawsuit challenging governor’s power to choose incoming Supreme Court Justices

By: - September 20, 2018 4:38 pm

Two groups that filed a lawsuit last year challenging Gov. Rick Scott’s power to choose three incoming Florida Supreme Court Justices refiled the case on Thursday.

The stakes are high: The case revolves around who gets the power to choose replacements for three Supreme Court Justices leaving the court in early January because they have reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. Those Justices are Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince and R. Fred Lewis.

In rejecting an initial lawsuit on the issue last December, the justices wrote that the issue was “not ripe for consideration.”

But Scott set the wheels in motion earlier this month when he asked the nine-member Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) to begin reviewing candidates to succeed the soon to be departed justices.

The League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause have petitioned the Supreme Court to decide on the issue before October 8, which is the deadline for applications set by the JNC. The groups are suing both Scott and the JNC.

All three of the departing justices are on the liberal leaning side, and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum has said if elected in November he would go to court and file an injunction to stop Scott.

The last time this situation arose was back in 1998, when incoming Republican Governor Jeb Bush was elected to succeed Democrat Lawton Chiles. At that time, Chiles and Bush worked together to select Justice Quince.

 

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.

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