Three Florida Justices Reject Claims of Bias on Bench

Three targeted Florida Supreme Court justices are working to educate the public about the purpose of retention (yes-or-no) elections, and to reject foes’ claims of bias on the bench.

Florida’s Republican Party and others seeking to unseat the judges premise their reasoning only a few court decisions out of thousands, and they haven’t made a case of partisanship on the court, the jurists said at a University of Florida law school forum, according to the Associated Press.

“I can tell you in a number of cases that I would’ve ruled a different way if I had been king,” Justice Fred Lewis said. “But that’s not the rule of law.”

“The test is going to be whether the citizens of this state understand that they are not going to let the judiciary be bought,” Justice Barbara Pariente said.

She also said that retention elections in a merit-based system for picking judges are not intended as a referendum on the jurists’ opinions. A vote must be based, she said, on judicial behavior and character that permit a jurist to uphold the law impartially.

The third justice targeted for ouster is Justice Peggy Quince. To learn more about the high-profile judicial election, see Gavel Grab.

 

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