The Florida Bar
The Vote’s in YOUR COURT - Judicial Merit Retention
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The Florida Bar encourages you to learn more about judicial merit retention with our educational program The Vote’s in YOUR COURT. This coming November, you will be asked to vote whether to retain the justices and appeals court judges listed on the ballot. This is called judicial merit retention.
Under judicial merit retention, justices and appeals court judges appear on the ballot in staggered six-year terms. This year’s election provides voters the opportunity to review three Supreme Court justices and 15 appeals court judges. They all reached their positions originally after being carefully screened by Judicial Nominating Committees and appointed by Florida governors in a process known as judicial merit selection.
Research suggests many Florida voters are unclear of what judicial merit retention means. Often, they skip this section of the ballot. Informing you about merit retention and making available information that could help you in making informed decisions is the goal of The Vote’s in YOUR COURT.
The Florida Bar encourages you through this program to learn about the justices and judges up for merit retention votes so that when Election Day arrives, you will feel confident of your decisions. The vote is in your court.
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.
Know the Facts
- Florida Bar Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Supreme Court Justices, Appellate Judges in Merit Retention Elections
- Bar Poll Results Flyer
- Merit Retention Frequently Asked Questions
- Fact Sheet
- Florida Bar Guide for Florida Voters
- League of Women Voters of Florida - Voter Guide
- Florida Division of Elections
- Video: The Vote's in YOUR COURT (8min. Windows Media 48 MB)
- Background Information Paper on Merit Selection and Retention
- Scott G. Hawkins, Perspective on Judicial Merit Retention in Florida, 64 Florida Law Review 1421 (2012)
In the News
- The Florida Bar's Daily News Summary
- Statement by Florida Bar President Gwynne Young regarding political endorsements in non-partisan elections
- Editorial: Justice is Served -- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Nov. 8, 2012
- Editorial: Make Sure to Keep Florida Supreme Court Justices on the Bench -- The Palm Beach Post, Nov. 5, 2012
- Charlie Crist: Vote "Yes" for Merit Retention -- Gainesville Sun, Oct. 29, 2012.
- Keep Justices on the Job -- Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 26, 2012
- Naked Politics Tries to Don Robes of Supreme Court -- Tampa Bay Online, Oct. 25, 2012.
- Judicial Elections Threaten Justice -- USA Today, Oct. 24, 2012
- Florida Justices Fighting Against Tyranny of the Minority -- Miami Herald, Oct. 20, 2012
- Yes on Florida Supreme Court Justices -- Tampa Bay Times, Oct. 2012
- GOP Vs. Merit Retention -- Lakeland Ledger, Oct. 2012
- Voting Advice -- Tallahassee Democrat, Oct. 2012
- Please Don't Stop at the Top -- Florida Voices, Oct. 2012
- GOP's Unwarranted Assault: Vote Yes to Retain Supreme Court Justices Lewis, Pariente, Quince -- Miami Herald, Oct. 2012
- Courts Should Be Off-Limits to Partisan Politics -- Gainesville Sun, Oct. 2012
- Florida's Judiciary at Stake -- Hernando Today, Oct. 2012
- RPOF is Setting a Bad Precedent -- Tallahassee Democrat, Oct. 2012
- Six Former Florida Justices Speak Up Against GOP Attempts to Politicize Judiciary -- Miami Herald, Sept. 2012
- Will Florida's Judicary be up for Sale, Again? -- Florida Times-Union, Sept. 2012
- It's About Florida - Merit Retention WFSU
- Perspectives - Merit Retention WFSU
- Demystifying What Judges Do -- Florida Bar Journal, March 2012
- To Retain or Not to Retain -That Is the Question -- Florida Bar Journal, April 2012
- Voting for Judges -- Florida Trend, , April 11, 2012 [Login / Subscription required.]
- Why Do We Trust Judges? -- Florida Bar Journal, May 2012
- Beware move to oust Florida Supreme Court justices -- Florida Today , May 1, 2012 [Login / Subscription required.]
- Merit Retention - Learn about it before you head out to vote -- Tallahassee Democrat - Editorial, July 13, 2012 [Login / Subscription required.]
- Special Interests Take Special Interest in Judicial Elections -- Florida Bar News, July 15, 2012
- Voters must decide on justices -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, July 20, 2012
- Voters should study Florida Supreme Court justices' records, make an educated decision on whether to retain them -- Ft. Myers News-Press , August 27, 2012
- The Vote's in YOUR COURT and the Vote is Coming Soon -- Florida Bar Journal, September/October 2012
Know Your Judges and Justices Up for Merit Retention:
- Supreme Court
- First DCA
- Second DCA
- Third DCA
- Fourth DCA
- Fifth DCA (No judges from the 5th DCA are on the 2012 ballot for judicial merit retention.)
- Florida Courts of Appeal Map and Links
First DCA: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette,
Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Nassau, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties.
Second DCA: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties.
Third DCA: Dade and Monroe counties.
Fourth DCA: Broward, Indian River, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Martin counties.