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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 04:38 PM
Original message
Florida GOP-controlled Legislature seeks to saw off the judicial branch
Howard Troxler at the St. Petersburg Times:

March 20, 2011


For starters, the Legislature proposes to split the seven-member Florida Supreme Court into two Supreme Courts of five members each, one for civil cases and the other criminal. The immediate effect would give Gov. Rick Scott three quick appointments that will suit him and the Legislature better than the current bunch.

Next, the Legislature proposes to end the last vestige of "merit selection" of Florida judges, and make the system completely political.
It used to be that committees made up of members of the public and the Florida Bar screened judicial nominees and sent a list of finalists to the governor to choose from.

But as soon as Florida had both a Republican Legislature and a Republican governor in Jeb Bush, lawmakers gave the governor more power over the nominating councils. The result was a series of nakedly political appointees by Bush, including the hacks on the 1st District Court of Appeal who stole that "Taj Mahal" courthouse from the taxpayers.

Yes, we remember in 2006, when Jeb Bush tried the power grab for himself. Since 2001, he already had power over who was named to the Judicial Nominating Commission. He now wanted supreme rule: The headline at the time was 'A new lawsuit seeks to stop the election of 55 new Florida judges, who would instead be appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush.'

I swear, these guys scream about unelected judges, yet they want total control in naming them via partisan political appointments. This is similar to Karl Rove's war on US Attorneys who wouldn't toe the line. These hypocrites have the stink of dead rats.

Now, they want total power over who is nominated to become a judge in the state of Florida, cutting it out of the hands of public and the Florida Bar, where it has traditionally been.

Can't have the public or the Bar involved in nominating judges, no siree.

It's no longer good enough for the GOP-controlled Legislature to have had the power to stack the Judicial Nominating Commission all this time. Now they want TOTAL control over the entire process of naming judges.

Troxler also points out several more chilling details:

1. With no more merit selection, this bill declares that all Supreme Court and Appeals judges must then be approved by the state Senate. And this bill would give the Senate 6 months after appointing a judge to decide whether to confirm him or her.

2. All Appeals judges would be on probation for 6 months, and would be subject to firing during that period if they ruled unfavorably to the Legislature.


And if you think that is paranoid, remember that the Senate performed exactly such an assassination last year, when it booted two new members of the Public Service Commission who had dared to vote against big electric rate hikes.

We remember how that went down last year. Vote down those Big Utility rate hikes, baby, and you're off the Commission in a heartbeat.

The Florida Public Service Commission in itself is a perverse revolving door between regulating the utilities (heh) and later working/lobbying for those same utilities after leaving the Commission. But that's another story.

And another way this bill would dismantle our judicial system (from Troxler's piece):

3. The GOP-controlled Legislature would bestow upon itself 'final approval of all the rules of procedure, evidence and conduct that govern Florida's judicial branch.'

This is nothing short of this GOP Legislature working for a complete and total abolition of the Judicial Branch of our state government.

Troxler concludes:


Two state Supreme Courts, newly packed with the governor's buddies. A totally political nominating system with no check on the governor's choices. Appeals judges subject to being removed on the spot if the Legislature doesn't like a ruling. The Legislature controlling the rules of evidence, of procedure, and operation of the judicial branch.

It is revolution. It is constitutional usurpation. It is practically a whole new form of government.

But I'll tell you what it ain't. It ain't "conservative."


And this bill is sailing right along in the Legislature.

From a commenter to Troxler's article at the Times:

Now I understand why past generations always had MUCH higher taxes on the wealthy than we do today. It's because taxing them is the only way to get them to pay up for all of the damage they cause to society in the first place. We wouldn't need so much costly insurance on everything, and protection from financial ruin if there weren't scumbags out there, always scheming on how to rip people off, and keep ill-gotten gains for themselves without being held accountable. To these people, there is no such thing as a 'constructive' solution. Their ethos is to deceive, to take, and to destroy. We tax these people to pay for the destruction they cause, pure and simple. And for 30 years now, we've seen with our own eyes what happens when you trust a single word they say. It's time to stop these thugs from destroying any more of America than they already have. America was founded by the common man escaping the oppression of the wealthy oligarch. They oppress us, not the other way around.

And they will stop at nothing in Florida, in the relentless onslaught to permanently destroy the Judicial Branch of government.

Florida, we are in the throes of a fascist coup.

Somebody on the evening MSNBC lineup had better start talking about what is going on in Florida.

This is not a drill.

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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 05:17 PM
Response to Original message
1. fucking-a, seafan. thanks for bringing this up. and you're right...this is a fascist coup...
and it needs national attention asap.

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Cetacea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 05:45 PM
Response to Original message
2. Somebody on the evening MSNBC lineup had better start talking about what is going on in Florida.
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demwing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 05:53 PM
Response to Original message
3. I can't wait till my son graduates High School
Edited on Sun Mar-20-11 06:02 PM by demwing
so we can leave the South, and head back to the left coast.

I should say that we stay because he attends a Fine Arts magnate in St. Petersburg, where he is retally blossoming as a student. The reasons that we came to Florida in the first place (family) just no longer apply, and I find I have no tolerance for the politics of the state, and the overt and subtle prejudices that one encounters here.

Still, it's worth a two year wait to ensure my son graduates from his current school (if it survives this damned Governor). I just hope we don't invset this time for nothing...
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Snoutport Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 05:55 PM
Response to Original message
4. this is scarier than i realized!
holy cow!!!
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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 06:05 PM
Response to Original message
5. K & R
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
6. Kick and rec for Howard T...a real journalist.
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riverbendviewgal Donating Member (377 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
7. Just came back from there.
Beautiful beach across the condo we rented. So many for sale signs. Condos where we stayed went for over $225 k a couple years ago. Now they are selling for $120k......

Lots of vacancy signs, even with Spring Break. I live in north east Ontario...We were quite surprised to see our veggies up here are half the price of what they were in western Florida. Holy moly, even oranges.

Talked to one middle aged lady in Ormand Beach/ She said when her health insurance reached $900 a MONTH!!!, she dropped it. Just taking her chances. Most people I talked to had no health insurance.

I am so grateful to live in Canada...we have no worries like that. My son and husband were diagnosed with cancer two months apart. They had EVERTHING. No denials. Our government even gave me $2500 for each of them toward their funerals. There was not a dollar of medical bills I had to pay.

Talking to Canadians down where we vacationed we all shook our heads as to why Americans don't want our health care system. All I can say Fox was on the most in all places that had TVs. People were so misinformed about Canadian health care.

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toddwv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
8. Wow, there's some heated debate going on in the comments section of that article.
I wonder what your average Floridian voter thinks of this blatant power grab?
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:14 PM
Response to Original message
9. GOP; Associated Industries of Florida; Florida Chamber of Commerce trying to tear down courts' power
This is a red alert, Florida.

Here is the guy who is behind this blatant power grab. His smug expression reflects the arrogance, unchecked greed for unconstitutional power and the hollowed-out thinking processes that have descended like a plague on our state government.

Florida Speaker of the House of Representatives Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, bangs the gavel to begin the joint session of the Florida legislature in Tallahassee, Fla. , Tuesday, March 8, 2011.

Businesses Back Move To Weaken Florida Judges

Lloyd Dunkelberger reports:

March 20, 2011


House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park -- and powerful business groups -- are driving the sweeping changes, which will likely find a receptive audience in the strongly conservative leaders running the Florida Legislature.

The way Dean Cannon sees it, the judicial nominating commission is 'too close to the trial lawyers'.

Cannon, a lawyer, said he respects the judiciary's independence but wants to curb its power because he argues it has exceeded its constitutional limits. Exhibit 1 of that overreach, according to Republican legislative leaders: the Supreme Court's rejection of three constitutional amendments drafted by lawmakers last year aimed at preserving their power to draw the boundaries for the districts they represent.


Apparently, the Supreme Court is too close to properly serving the people also.


University of Florida law professor emeritus Joe Little called the court proposals "troubling," saying they appeared to be aimed at challenging the American constitutional governance system that was created in the 1803 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Marbury vs. Madison, which gave the courts the "last say on what the constitution and laws mean."


Enter big-footed business groups such as Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.


Barney Bishop, head of AIF, said his business lobby wants to change the JNC process to at least make sure the members are subject to Senate confirmation.
Although he said he thought Florida appellate courts have been fairly even-handed on business cases, Bishop said business leaders were upset that former Gov. Charlie Crist appointed some 40 JNC members that business groups consider too friendly to trial lawyers.

"That's an anathema to the business community," Bishop said. "We want to wipe the slate clean and start over again."


And they and Jeb Bush are still pi$$#& at Governor Crist. He's gotta pay.

The people of Florida will pay dearly if these people succeed in tearing down and neutering the constitutional power of the co-equal judicial branch of our state government. What they are attempting is to turn it into an arm of the radical right wing that will permanently serve their ideology.

This also meets the definition of a coup.

We absolutely MUST remove these people from power.

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