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THE ISSUE: Shall state Supreme Court justices Pariente, Quince, and Lewis be retained?
OUR OPINION: Vote “Yes.”
In normal election years, the retention of state Supreme Court justices receives little attention, if any.
This is no ordinary election season.
During presidential election seasons, emotions run high and partisan politics dominate the election scene. State Supreme Court justices are nonpartisan appointees and should be protected from political upheaval. Nevertheless, state justices make decisions that affect the lives and livelihoods of people who live in the state. When that happens, their decisions inevitably become political.
This year three state justices, Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince and R. Fred Lewis, are up for merit retention.
However, this year the Florida Republican Party and the conservative political action group Americans for Prosperity, funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers, have joined with a group called Restore Justice 2012 in an effort to oust the three justices for being “judicial activists.”
Politics do not belong in the judicial system. Merit retention of justices should be based on performance and effective interpretation of law, and it appears all three justices are extremely competent. According to a state Bar association survey, of 7,857 lawyers in the state, the three had an average approval rating of 90 percent.
On the question of shall state justices Pariente, Quince and Lewis be retained, vote “Yes.”