Daily News Summary
An electronic digest of media coverage of interest to members of The Florida Bar compiled each workday by the Public Information and Bar Services Department. Electronic links are only active in today's edition. For information on previous articles, please contact the publishing newspaper directly.
Oct. 2, 2012
MERIT RETENTION OF JUDGES HAS SERVED FLORIDA WELL-- The Florida Times-Union, column, http://www.jacksonville.com, Oct. 2, 2012. [Also: JUSTICES DESERVE OPPOSITION IN ELECTION-- The Florida Times-Union, column, http://www.jacksonville.com, Oct. 2, 2012].
The guest columns by Florida Bar President Gwynne A. Young and Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry, respectively, offer opposing views regarding the merit retention election of three Florida Supreme Court Justices: R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince.
The column by Gwynne A. Young states: ". . . Keeping a neutral stance, The Florida Bar is ensuring Florida voters know the facts about the merit selection and retention processes . . . .This year’s election provides Florida voters the opportunity to vote on three Supreme Court justices and 15 appeals court judges including four in the First District Court of Appeal (which includes Duval, Nassau and Clay). . . . The merit retention process strives to ensure Florida citizens are being served by judges of the utmost quality and integrity."
The column by Lenny Curry states: ". . ."The decision to oppose these justices came after a grassroots groundswell raised the issue ahead of a board meeting . . . . Everyone. . . agrees that these justices should be able to render legal opinions that transcend their political beliefs. But that is exactly the problem. . . . These justices have failed in this duty, which is why voters must carefully consider whether they deserve another six years on the bench."
WILL FLORIDA'S JUDICIARY BE UP FOR SALE, AGAIN?-- The Florida Times-Union, column, http://www.jacksonville.com, Sept. 25, 2012. [Also: POLICE AND FIRE UNIONS BLAST GOP ATTACK ON SUPREME COURT-- Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee Bureau, http://www.miamiherald.com, Oct. 1, 2012].
The column by Times-Union Editorial Writer Wayne Ezell states: ". . . The campaign against the justices is being waged in tandem with a proposed constitutional amendment that would weaken the judiciary and erase much of its independence. The proposed amendment, No. 5 relating to state courts, is strongly opposed by many responsible groups, including the Florida League of Women Voters. . . ."
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT AMENDMENT: REFORM OVERDUE OR LEGISLATIVE INTRUSION ON JUDICIARY-- Sunshine State News, http://www.sunshinestatenews.com, Oct. 2, 2012. [Also: YES ON AMENDMENT 5, WHICH STRENGTHENS CHECKS ON JUDICIAL BRANCH-- column, http://www.sunshinestatenews.com, Oct. 2, 2012; NO ON AMENDMENT 5, A POLITICAL PLOY TO WEAKEN THE COURTS-- column, http://www.sunshinestatenews.com, Oct. 2, 2012].
Not only are three of the high court's justices up for merit retention, but voters in November's elections are being asked to weigh in on a measure that would radically change how their successors are appointed. If passed by 60 percent of those headed to the polls, the Florida Supreme Court Amendment – or Amendment 5 – would alter Article V of the Florida Constitution in at least three key respects.
The guest column by Rep. Charles McBurney, R-Jacksonville, vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, supporting the amendment, states: "Amendment 5 involves fundamental constitutional issues concerning the principles of checks and balances between our three branches of government. . . . Amendment 5 concerns three important proposed constitutional changes relating to: Selection of Supreme Court justices; Disclosure of investigative files of the Judicial Qualifications Commission; Review, adoption and repeal of the rules for the practice and procedure of state courts; [and] Selection of Supreme Court justices -- Senate confirmation."
The guest column by Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, minority leader pro tempore and vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, opposing the amendment, states: "Amendment 5 would make the courts an arm of the Legislature and would destroy an independent judiciary, which is the cornerstone of a democracy. . . . Most significantly, Amendment 5 gives the Legislature power to make the rules governing the courts and to reject the governor's appointments of Florida Supreme Court justices."
--Civil Justice Issues--
FLORIDA JUSTICES HEARING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT LAWYER CASE-- The Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, Oct. 1, 2012.
The Florida Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments today about whether an illegal immigrant can be granted a law license. Jose Godinez-Samperio came to the United States from Mexico at age 9. He has since graduated from college, earned a law degree and passed the Florida Bar. The Board of Bar Examiners has asked the Supreme Court for an advisory opinion on whether he can be denied a law license because of his immigration status. Godinez-Samperio contends President Barack Obama has cleared that potential obstacle with a directive to protect immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children, exempting them from deportation and granting temporary work permits for those who apply.
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT HEARING LESBIAN CUSTODY DISPUTE-- The Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Oct. 2, 2012.
The Florida Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments today in a child custody dispute between two lesbians that could have broader implications. The case could force state lawmakers to reconsider a law on the rights of sperm and egg donors. One of the women, the biological mother, donated an egg that was fertilized and implanted in the other. That woman gave birth in 2004. The Brevard County couple separated two years later. At issue is the definition of motherhood.
CIRCUIT JUDGE KARLA FOREMAN WRIGHT DIES-- The Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Oct. 2, 2012.
Tenth Circuit Judge Karla Foreman Wright has died, sources have confirmed. Wright, 63, was the first black woman named to the Polk County court system when she was appointed a county judge in 2000. Wright had been scheduled to retire in January, Court Administrator Nick Sudzina said last month. A native of Wilmington, Del., Wright earned her law degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. A first-generation college graduate, she was inspired to go on to law school by her college peers, she said in an interview earlier this year.