The Florida Bar

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.

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January 3, 2013


HONORABLE JUSTICE OVERTON MADE HISTORY -- The Miami Herald, letter-to-the-editor by Harry Lee Anstead, retired justice, Tallahassee, , Jan. 3, 2013.
Anstead writes, "Retired Justice Ben Overton, a very significant figure in the history of Florida’s justice system, died in Gainesville on Dec. 29. Justice Overton’s judicial career spanned some four decades, first as a trial court judge and then as a Florida Supreme Court justice. His career as a jurist, and the important decisions he participated in, mark him as one of the most important Florida legal figures of the 20th Century. In addition to being proud to have known and worked with such an honorable, hard-working and warm man, I must note that he was the first Florida justice selected under our current merit selection system...His role in validating the merit selection system has particular relevance today in light of recent legislative attempts to weaken that system."

The Florida Supreme Court wants the Legislature to hire 64 additional judges — including four in Hillsborough County — to deal with increasing caseloads and the elimination of staff in recent years because of budget cuts. Hillsborough Chief Judge Manuel Menendez Jr. said he hopes lawmakers will fund the four county judgeships recommended by the high court, as well as a circuit court position he also requested, even though it was not certified as necessary by the Supreme Court. In addition to requesting the county court judges, the Supreme Court has certified that the 2nd District Court of Appeal needs another judge, noting that the court requested two additional judgeships.

GUEST OPINION: SENATE SHOULD NOT WAIT ANY LONGER TO CONFIRM NOMINEES FOR THE US MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA -- Ft. Myers News-Press, guest column by Carl Tobias, Williams Chair in Law, the University of Richmond, , Jan. 3, 2013.
Tobias writes, "The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida has two judicial vacancies. The U.S. Senate should have filled the Middle District openings before it adjourned for the year, so that the court could promptly, inexpensively and fairly resolve cases. However, the upper chamber adjourned without voting on two qualified Middle District nominees. Thus, one of the first actions that the new Senate must take when the 113th Congress convenes today is voting on those nominees...President Obama nominated Circuit Judge Brian Davis of Jacksonville in February and U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Polster Chappell of Fort Myers in June. Florida Senators Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R) have voiced strong support for both nominees."

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[Revised: 01-04-2013]