Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Court Packing Plan is Dead!

This evening the Senate took up and passed an amendment to HJR 7111 that gutted House Speaker Dean Cannon’s legislative assault on our fair and impartial courts. The amendment, co-sponsored by ten Republican Senators, eliminated the proposal to split the Supreme Court into two divisions and give the Governor full reign to select justices. It also did away with the proposal to set court funding at 2.25% of General Revenue, a move that would have potentially locked the judicial branch into perpetual underfunding.

Please take time to contact the lawmakers who sponsored this amendment, and stood strong against extreme pressure from leadership to go along with Cannon’s court “reform” package. To see the list of sponsors and read the amendment, go to http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2011/7111/Amendment/289464/HTML

The House has reportedly agreed to the amended proposal. That vote will come later this week. The measures that remain in the bill include Senate confirmation of appellate court judicial appointments and a lowering of the threshold for the legislature to over-rule a court rule of procedure (to 50% instead of 2/3’s, with a requirement for the legislature to provide policy direction for any rule they overturn). The amended joint resolution would also give the Speaker of the House access to JQC investigative files for potential impeachment proceedings. If passed by the House, the proposal will go on the ballot in the 2012 general election.

While no bill would have been our first choice – this is a major victory. We will continue to watch the JNC bill which is still sitting on the special order calendar, although all indications are it will not move forward.

Links to lawmaker contact information are available on our website, http://www.fairandimpartial.com/

Thank goodness for the hard work of all the advocates for justice that worked tirelessly to defeat this bad bill.  Hopefully this will show the legislature of Florida, along with the Governer, that they cannot run rough shod over the rights of Florida citizens.  The separation of powers is at risk in Florida, and the attorneys at Cohen & Kuvin are working hard to protect your rights against this unlawful intrusion by the legislative and executive branch.

Spencer T. Kuvin
Cohen Kuvin

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