The Florida Bar
STATEMENT BY FLORIDA BAR PRESIDENT GWYNNE YOUNG REGARDING POLITICAL ENDORSEMENTS IN NON-PARTISAN ELECTIONS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2012
CONTACT: Francine Walker,
The Florida Bar
TELEPHONE: (850) 321-7846
"A fair and impartial judiciary, free from political or special interest influence is the purpose of Florida's non-partisan merit retention elections for appellate judges. The Florida Bar does not believe any political party – Democratic, Republican or other – should participate in any non-partisan election, particularly for judicial positions.
"Maintaining the integrity and impartiality of Florida's judges is critical to preserving the principles of democracy on which our country was founded. Non-partisan merit retention elections were established by the people of Florida to ensure that the rule of law, not popular thought or political view, is the basis for all judicial decisions.
"In 1976, Florida's voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing merit selection and retention elections for its state appellate court judges. This replaced Florida's prior political system of judicial selection which led to corruption and scandal in our high courts. Merit selection and retention has served Florida well for more than 40 years and should not be jeopardized by politics.
"The Florida Bar is committed to providing Floridians with objective information regarding merit selection and retention and the biographies of the justices and judges who are on the November 6 ballot. Through the non-partisan educational program, The Vote's in YOUR COURT: Judicial merit retention. Know the facts., the Bar is informing Florida voters about merit retention and the role of judges. The program offers extensive website information, printed materials and speakers for groups.
"By law, The Florida Bar -- as an official arm of the Supreme Court of Florida -- may not endorse or oppose any political or judicial candidate, or otherwise engage in partisan political activities."
EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."