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Wednesday, March 08, 2017
JUDICIAL TERM LIMITS ARE ON THE WAY .....?????
THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE JUDGES ...............
On Monday, we introduced you to the Speaker of the House, Richard Corcoran (R-Land O' Lakes). On Tuesday, Speaker Corcoran called the House into Session. In his opening speech, keeping with his theme of going to war with the Governor, Corcoran continued to press the fact that he intends to go after and eliminate Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.
Richard Corcoran is much out of the mold of Donald Trump. He has his own ideas of how to "drain the swamp" that is Tallahassee politics. From Corcoran's opening remarks to his House colleagues:
"For anyone waiting for us to slow down, to drop the big ideas, to stop trying to shake up the system, to cower in the face of attacks, or to cave to the demands of special interests, here's our message to you: We will not."
"Because right now, there are some who are suggesting that we pass the largest budget in history. We will not. We will not. Instead of spending more money, we will fight to eliminate waste from the budget."
"Right now, there are some who are suggesting that we pass a massive property tax increase. We will not."
He closed with:
"When we began this journey together, we promised to be better, to do things differently, and to reach for a higher standard, and we will ... Let's fight."
In addition to Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, Corcoran has also set his sights on the Florida Lottery; he sued them for allegedly misspending their budget. Also, Corcoran has demanded an audit of the Department of Environmental Protection for mismanagement of a legal contract where DEP has been billed nearly $98 million dollars in legal fees from four law firms. They have already paid nearly $72 million of the total bill. The four firms have been handling a 16 year lawsuit against the State of Georgia over water right to the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint River Basin. $54.4 million of the total was spent in just the past two years after Florida asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. (And you thought that the JAC paid well to our Private Court Appointed Counsel).
And now Corcoran is going after the Judges in our State. In case I failed to mention it earlier, Corcoran is an attorney, with the law firm of Broad and Cassel. And Corcoran is pushing for term limits for all Supreme Court and District Court judges.
The first bill filed in the House, titled HJR 1 - Judicial Term Limits has already cleared all Committees and made its way to the floor of the House. Now, to be clear, the bill is a Resolution and even if passed, does not become law. That's because it would require an amendment to the Florida Constitution for this to actually take place. But that is what Corcoran intends to fight for.
The House bill can be found here. The summary of the bill states:
TERM LIMITS FOR JUSTICES AND JUDGES.—Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to prohibit the name of a supreme court justice or district court of appeal judge from appearing on a ballot for retention if he or she has served more than 12 consecutive years in the same office and prohibit reappointment of a justice or judge for one year after leaving office. The term limit applies to justices and judges in office on January 9, 2019, and future appointees.
The Senate is nearly in lock-step with the House on this issue. They have SJR 482 - Supreme Court Justices/District Courts of Appeal Judges. The language of the Senate Resolution is slightly different. The Senate bill can be found here. The summary of that Resolution states:
ELIGIBILITY FOR APPOINTMENT AND RETENTION OF OFFICE OF JUSTICE OR JUDGE.—Amendment imposes a 2-term limit for supreme court justices, 3-term limit for district courts of appeal judges, and 50-year age minimum for both; requires 1-year service as judge to serve as justice. Currently, both serve unlimited terms, if retained, until age 70, or older if less than one-half term remains at 70; there is no age minimum or service requirement. The term limits do not include partial terms and apply to current justices and judges. (A term is six years in length).
No doubt some final version of these two Resolutions will appear on the 2018 ballot as a Constitutional Amendment.
Do you think that our appellate court judges should be term limited? Will the quality of the appellate bench go down if term limits are passed?
CAPTAIN OUT .....