Sadly, four of the justices on the current Florida ballot do not deserve retention. I strongly advise voting to remove Justices Charles Canady, Ricky Polston, Jamie Grosshans and John Couriel. I recommend voting to retain Justice Jorge Labarga.
I am not one to lightly suggest that judges and justices should not be retained. Indeed, I think that jurists come to the polls with a presumption that they should be retained. I don’t think we should non-retain a justice just because they have a judicial philosophy I disagree with. But there are a few things that I think we need to look out for: lack of competence, lack of judicial temperament, ethical lapses, and a lack of due respect for precedent.
Four of the Justices on the ballot this year fail–really, horribly, badly–on the last point. They not only don’t respect precedent, they have gone out of their way, in a deeply non-judicial fashion, to reach out and change decisions they didn’t like.
I don’t have the time to write the lengthy screed this topic deserves, but in addition to the matters in the link above, I refer you the Florida Supreme Court’s recent and shameful death penalty cases in which the Florida court basically thumbed its nose at both Florida and US Supreme Court precedent. The American Bar Association’s death penalty representation project offers a quick summary of this at Florida Supreme Court Overturns Precedent Throughout 2020 [link corrected – thank you to CC]. That right there should be enough to inform, and determine, your vote.
And the activism hasn’t stopped. See, for example, the recent change to a long-standing practice regarding punitive damages in Florida Rule Of Appellate Procedure 9.130.
In all of this, Justice Jorge Labarga has been a principled and eloquent dissenter. Vote to retain him please.