Update on Political Drama in Florida Judicial Appointments

J. Stephen O'Hara, Jr.

In August 2017, I reported that a political drama was unfolding in Florida over who would appoint Florida Supreme Court Justices in the near future. I said that “[t]he conservative/liberal dichotomy of Supreme Court Justices influences Supreme Court decisions at the state level as well as at the national level.” (http://oharalawfirm.com/political-drama-in-florida-judicial-appointments/)

On Monday, October 15, 2018, a mere three weeks before Florida voters will choose a new governor, the Supreme Court of Florida ruled: “The governor who is elected in the November 2018 general election has the sole authority to fill the vacancies that will be created by the mandatory retirement of Justices Barbara J. Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, and Peggy A. Quince.”

The Orlando Sentinel reported on October 15 that those “three justices make up the bulk of the 4-3 liberal majority on the court.” The Orlando Sentinel also said the Court’s October 15 order “clarifies” that Governor Rick “Scott’s successor will make the appointments, and raises the stakes on the governor’s race; possibly deciding the ideological balance of the court for years to come.”

By Steve O’Hara

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