There is one state Supreme Court Justice up for retention this year, Justice Alan Lawson. Justice Lawson is, by any estimation, a very conservative jurist. He achieved fame in 2012 when he dissented in a 5th DCA decision, later upheld by the Florida Supreme Court, that allowed a child to have two legally recognized mothers.
Lawson’s complaint was that decision was akin to eliminating laws “prohibiting same-sex marriage, bigamy, polygamy, or adult incestuous relationships.” So, not my kind of guy.
Governor Rick Scott appointed Lawson to the Florida Supreme Court late in 2016, so he hasn’t been on the bench for long. In that time, he has not done anything that would disqualify him for retention. It may be tempting to some to say that with the Florida Supreme Court’s ideological balance at 4-3, a split likely to continue if Andrew Gillum is elected, this is the time to create a fourth opening. I don’t think we should give into this temptation to further politicize the judiciary.
I have said since I started writing about elected judges that we should generally retain judges and Justices unless they demonstrate they don’t deserve it, and whether or not you agree with him ideologically, I don’t see how one could say Justice Lawson has come close to that line. So I am voting to retain Justice Lawson.