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. 5, 2012
MERIT RETENTION FORUM—Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, Oct. 5, 2012.
The three Supreme Court justices up for merit retention, Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince, will participate in a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters today at 3 p.m. at the Florida State University College of Law (R101, 425 W. Jefferson St., Tallahassee.)
BAR WORRIES POLITICS CHANGE JUDICIAL RETENTION PROCESS-- Tampa Bay Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, Oct. 5, 2012.
Gwynne Young, a Carlton Fields lawyer and president of The Florida Bar, issued statement last month urging voter education about merit selection and retention of judges, a non-partisan process created because of rampant corruption and case-fixing in the previous political process. The Bar has a voters' guide and information on its website about the merit retention system and the results of a poll of Bar members regarding retention of the justices.
FLORIDA'S JUDICIARY AT STAKE-- Hernando Today, column, http://www.hernandotoday.com, Oct. 5, 2012.
The guest column by Martin Dyckman states: "This has become one of the most important elections in Florida's history, but many of those who vote for president or U.S. senator may overlook the campaigns that make it so. I'm talking about the far-down-the-ballot questions concerning the retention of Supreme Court Justices R. Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince and Barbara Pariente. . . . Florida's present system of appointment and merit retention for appellate judges was established in 1976 because of some flagrantly unethical conduct at the Florida Supreme Court, all of which owed to politics. Florida's judicial nominating commissions were supposed to keep the politics out. But since 2001, the commissions have come under the thumbs of the governors, who now appoint all the members, and so there is no longer any assurance that replacements for the three targeted justices would even be qualified, much less ethical and nonpolitical."
--Civil Justice Issues--
HIGH COURT SAYS NON-RESIDENTS CAN GET TAX BREAK-- The Bradenton Herald, http://www.bradenton.com, Oct. 5, 2012. [Also: COURT UPHOLDS FOREIGN COUPLES HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION-- Sunshine State News, http://www.sunshinestatenews.com, Oct. 5, 2012].
From The Bradenton Herald article by the Associated Press: Foreigners and out-of-state residents may be able to get a break on state property taxes thanks to a potentially far-reaching ruling from the Florida Supreme Court. The court on Thursday [Oct. 4] unanimously said that a couple from Honduras who had been living in a Key Biscayne condominium with their children were eligible for a homestead exemption. Those in the U.S. on a temporary visa aren't normally eligible for the tax break, but all three children of David and Ana Andonie were born in Miami-Dade County and had never lived anywhere else. Justice Jorge Labarga, who wrote the opinion, said that a provision included in the state constitution back in 1968 trumped an existing law that requires a person seeking a homestead exemption to permanently reside in the home. The case could have wide implications for the numbers of Central and South Americans who live in South Florida and out-of-state residents who have also purchased property in the state.
JUDGE: FLORIDA VOTER PURGE CAN GO ON-- The Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Oct. 5, 2012.
A federal judge in Fort Lauderdale ruled Thursday [Oct. 4] that Florida's purge of potential noncitizens on the voter rolls can go on. U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch said federal law does not prohibit the state from removing voters who were never lawfully eligible to register in the first place. Florida has identified 198 voters as potential noncitizens — among an estimated 11.4 million registered voters — and sent the names to independent county elections supervisors for their review. Zloch's ruling follows one issued by a Tallahassee federal judge in June in a separate case filed by the U.S. Justice Department. That judge also opined that the 90-day purge prohibition in the 1993 National Voter Registration Act applies to people lawfully registered to vote, such as felons, and is silent as to noncitizens. Zloch reached a similar conclusion.
SUPREME COURT HEARS COLLEGE TUITION LAWSUIT-- The Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Oct. 5, 2012.
The article is by the Associated Press. Florida Supreme Court justices had some sharp questions Thursday for both sides on whether the Legislature has the power to set state university tuition and fees rather than a board created to oversee the schools. Two lower courts have ruled that power lies with the Legislature. However, former Gov. Bob Graham — who was watching from the second row — and other plaintiffs contend a 2002 state constitutional amendment establishing the Board of Governors transferred tuition-setting power to the new panel. The court did not indicate when it would rule. The crux of the argument was whether setting tuition and fees cannot be separated from the Legislature's constitutional appropriation authority as legislative attorney Daniel Brown argued. Robin Gibson, the lawyer for Graham's group, contended they are two distinct functions and that the amendment transferred all aspects of the Legislature's authority over the universities except for appropriations.
11 FLORIDA WOMEN SUE WAL-MART FOR DISCRIMINATION-- Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Oct. 5, 2012.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pays women less than men for the same work and doesn't give women equal chance for promotion, says a class action lawsuit filed in federal court on Thursday [Oct. 4] by 11 Florida women, including one each from Palm Beach and Broward counties. The women want cash compensation and a court order telling Wal-Mart to end its gender discrimination. The case, filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, is similar to cases filed in California, Texas and Tennessee in the last year. All four cases are regionalized versions of a national class action suit struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer. The case was struck down not based on its merits, but because the class of female Wal-Mart employees was too large and diverse.