http://t.co/5nC0tBFdOZ
  The new voter’s guide is out.  We worked hard on this year’s updates for all you Florida voters with questions regarding judicial merit retention elections.  Please check out the guide before the November elections.

http://t.co/5nC0tBFdOZ

  The new voter’s guide is out.  We worked hard on this year’s updates for all you Florida voters with questions regarding judicial merit retention elections.  Please check out the guide before the November elections.


supremecourt.gov is the official web site for the Supreme Court of the United States.

Should private, for-profit corporations enjoy the constitutional right to exercise freedom of religion?  We’ll see.  Either way, counsel for both sides excelled at oral argument…
http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_audio_detail.aspx?argument=13-354&TY=2013

Should private, for-profit corporations enjoy the constitutional right to exercise freedom of religion?  We’ll see.  Either way, counsel for both sides excelled at oral argument…

http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_audio_detail.aspx?argument=13-354&TY=2013

We Should Be Concerned: Proposed Constitutional Amendment Would Give Florida’s Next Elected Governor Power to Pack State Supreme Court

BY MARY ELLEN KLAS
HERALD/TIMES TALLAHASSEE BUREAU
TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s governor would have new powers to pack the state’s Supreme Court under a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow him to make prospective appointments to the bench even if a vacancy occurs the day the governor is leaving office.

Under the proposal by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, the next governor could appoint the successors to three justices of the Florida Supreme Court who would have to retire on the same day the governor’s term ends, on Jan. 8, 2019. Justices are required to retire at age 70, but can continue to serve on the bench until the end of their six-year term.

Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince — the court’s liberal wing — will all turn 70 some time during the next governor’s term, and their six-year terms will all end on the same day as the new governor is inaugurated.

The state constitution is unclear about whether the incoming or outgoing governor should make the appointment when the vacancy occurs on inauguration day. The proposal is designed to put some certainty into the law by giving governors a “prospective appointment” as part of the state’s merit selection system used for appellate courts.

If voters approve Lee’s amendment in November, Gov. Rick Scott, if reelected, or his successor will have the power to appoint a majority of the seven-member court, a legacy that could last for decades.

Here’s how it would work: one of the last acts of the governor elected this November could be to name three new justices to replace the ones leaving the bench on inauguration day 2019. A fourth justice, James. E.C. Perry, will retire in January 2017 and Scott — or his successor — will name his replacement. If the new justices are young enough, they could remain in office for decades, or until they reach the mandatory retirement age of 70.

“Despite how politically volatile this issue will be, the good governance answer is to let the outgoing governor make the appointments,” said Lee, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will hear the bill Tuesday.

Since the proposed constitutional amendment gives a sitting governor the power to make prospective appointments whenever there is a pending court vacancy, the governor’s reach could extend to the appellate courts as well.

Lee, who was courted by Scott in December to be his lieutenant governor, said the amendment is necessary now because “we’re in a moment in history where we don’t know who the next governors are going to be.”

He said that if an outgoing governor makes an appointment that might be challenged by the incoming governor, Florida could face a “constitutional crisis.”

But Lee’s proposal has already caused commotion within the legal community and some are critical of giving a losing candidate, or retiring governor, such extraordinary powers.

“I don’t believe that someone who loses an election should have this as a parting shot,” said Alex Villalobos, a former Miami state senator and constitutional expert.

Lee’s proposal says that 30 days from the day the justice actually steps down the governor must “fill the prospective vacancy by appointing a justice or judge” from a list provided to him by the Judicial Nominating Commission. The sitting governor could start the nominating process long before the 30-day period starts.

“It’s a good thing to clarify it — but not in the way it’s being clarified,” Villalobos said. He said a better option is to include an exception that disqualifies a governor who has lost an election or is termed out of office to have the appointment power.
“The rest of it should be aired out and we should come up with better options,” he said.

Under certain circumstances, Scott could have appointment powers starting this year under the plan because Justices Charles Canady and Ricky Polston both face a merit-retention vote this November. If the amendment is approved and governor were to lose his re-election bid and if Canady or Polston don’t seek another term or are not retained for another term, Scott could select their successors. Both justices are expected to seek another term, however, and no justice has ever lost a merit-retention vote.

Florida avoided a constitutional conflict over the unsettled law in 1998, when outgoing Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat, was preparing to name a replacement to retiring Justice Ben Overton. Incoming Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, argued the appointment was his, and he threatened to challenge it.

Rather than embark on a public fight, the two governors agreed to make a joint announcement and together named Justice Peggy Quince, the court’s first black woman on the bench.

Since then, the only legal opinion on the matter was written in 2006 by former Justice Raoul Cantero, Lee said. The concurring opinion clarified that the outgoing governor can start the nomination process before the vacancy occurs.

Lee said he hopes to move his bill through the process quickly. If voters reject it, however, there might be another chance to revamp the state constitution in 2017, when the Constitutional Revision Commission meets to propose amendments.

CHANGING THE COURT
Florida’s Constitution requires that state Supreme Court justices retire at age 70, but can serve until the end of six-year term if they are halfway through the term, whichever is later. In the next four years, four of the seven justices will reach mandatory retirement age:
Barbara J. Pariente
• Appointed by Democrat Gov. Lawton Chiles
• Took office 1997 
• Turns 70 on Dec. 24, 2018 
• Mandatory retirement: January 2019 
R. Fred Lewis
• Appointed by Democrat Gov. Lawton Chiles
• Took office 1999 
• Turns 70 on Dec. 14, 2017 
• Mandatory retirement: January 2019 
Peggy A. Quince
• Appointed jointly by Democrat Gov. Lawton Chiles and Republican Gov. Jeb Bush
• Took office 1999 
• Turns 70 on Jan. 3, 2018 
• Mandatory retirement: January 2019 
James E.C. Perry
• Appointed by then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist
• Took office 2009 
• Turned 70 in January 2014 and term expires in December 2016 
• Mandatory retirement: January 2017

There are many ways you can find out information about the judges on the ballot in the upcoming non-partisan merit retention elections.  Be an informed voter; click on the image above to get started…

There are many ways you can find out information about the judges on the ballot in the upcoming non-partisan merit retention elections.  Be an informed voter; click on the image above to get started…

This should fit well within the “Fair Use” exception.

This should fit well within the “Fair Use” exception.

aljazeeraamerica:

Supreme Court declines to hear request to stay US Airways-American merger

Late Saturday night U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg declined to hear a challenge brought by a group of consumers and travel agents that sought to stop American Airlines and US Airways from merging.
The group filed a last-ditch petition to stop the merger, arguing that it would drive air travel prices up and service standards down and make planes more crowded.
Justice Ginsburg did not issue an opinion.
The combination of American’s parent, AMR Corp., and U.S. Airways Group would create the world’s largest carrier and follow last month’s resolution of antitrust objections by the Department of Justice.

Read more
Photo: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

aljazeeraamerica:

Supreme Court declines to hear request to stay US Airways-American merger

Late Saturday night U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg declined to hear a challenge brought by a group of consumers and travel agents that sought to stop American Airlines and US Airways from merging.

The group filed a last-ditch petition to stop the merger, arguing that it would drive air travel prices up and service standards down and make planes more crowded.

Justice Ginsburg did not issue an opinion.

The combination of American’s parent, AMR Corp., and U.S. Airways Group would create the world’s largest carrier and follow last month’s resolution of antitrust objections by the Department of Justice.

Read more

Photo: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Sometimes.  Just sometimes.  We have to consider, collectively, the old adage, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”  Well, right or wrong, check out Bigger, Stronger, Faster.  An upcoming documentary on the regulation and use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Hilarious Story of a Legal Bank Robbery

Jackie Chiles in the Courtroom

 Deposition of a Hospital CEO regarding his hospital’s billing practices.