To be a judge and not be able to practice law, or not be a judge, that is the question, that hung Hamlet like over our dear Thane Governor as he pondered "what to do ...what to do?" now that it is clear he will not be vice president.
The title of the post links to the Florida Supreme Court's decision today, which, shockingly, relies more upon "common sense" than the letter of the law. That is because Article V, section 8 of the Florida Constitution states in part that a Judge must be "a member of the Bar of Florida". It does not say anything about being "a member in good standing." More unfortunate is Florida Bar Rule 3-5.1(e) which states that a suspended lawyer is still a member of the Bar.
Therefore, ipso facto and "holy Crist,Batman" it appears that suspended lawyers can be judges. And as we've often said, we've met more judges who couldn't practice law if their mortgages depended on it, then lawyers who should be judges.
But here comes the Florida Supremes to the rescue, injecting a good old dose of common sense, and holding that when Article V section 8 says "a member of the Bar" what the legislature really meant to say, and ought to have said, was "a member of the bar who can practice law."
So much for the Republican-conservative judicial philosophy of strict interpretation and plain meaning of the statute. That only applies when taking away food vouchers from hungry children, and keeping guns readily accessible for all. When their ox is gored, conservative judges will run to the "this is the right thing to do no matter what the law says" just as much as a liberal judge. As we've seen, it just depends on whose ox is gored.
And with that lesson in constitutional interpretation behind us, we are left with this question: does Abramson get paid? Because if he does, can you imagine, getting a judge's salary for doing nothing?
Umm...wait a second. After further reflection, that somehow does not seem to be as hard to envision as we first thought.
See you in court.