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October 15, 2012

Former Justice Major Harding talks with the media.
THREE DAYS AFTER THE FLORIDA REPUBLICAN PARTY announced opposition to three justices, former ABA President Sandy D’Alemberte and former Justice Major B. Harding, with Defend Justice from Politics, were surrounded by a gaggle of reporters in Tallahassee. “My concern is the perception that this might have on the decision-making process of judges — Supreme Court, appellate, and trial judges. If decisions that they make are going to be challenged by a political party — Democratic or Republican — will that have a perception of impacting the fairness of the decisions that they make?” Harding asked. D’Alemberte, a former Democratic legislator, said no political party should get involved in the merit retention elections, and he would be “infuriated if the Democratic Party entered this.” One reporter said the selection of appellate judges is already politicized. “I’d have to agree that the tampering that has been done in recent years with the judicial nominating process is unfortunate. But look at the result. You’ve had good people appointed under Gov. Crist and Gov. Scott. I think Jeb Bush tried to appoint decent people and had good advisors around him,” D’Alemberte said. “We do have a screening process. It’s not perfect. But what worries me is this sucks the political forces back into the judicial selection and judicial retention process. There’s no way that this can be a good thing.”

[Revised: 11-15-2013]