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.
See also Voter’s Guide 2022 Florida General Election: 3rd DCA, Florida Constitutional Amendments, Miami-Dade Charter Amendments
Thank you very much Michael. Will you be posting recommendations for the rest of the ballot as well?
It’s up now at Voter’s Guide 2022 Florida General Election: 3rd DCA, Florida Constitutional Amendments, Miami-Dade Charter Amendments.
Thank you to all who nagged me. I very much appreciate your interest.
Depends on what you value. I politely disagree and will vote accordingly.
Of course if you think these ends justify these means, that would be thing to do. And I am not one who says sufficiently important ends can never justify most means, although I do think there are some means that no ends justify.
So let’s agree that in principle there are things that would justify throwing certain precedents out the window. But in deciding about these last few years, do your cost-benefit carefully in weighing whether these decisions–making the death penalty more common, making corporate damages, both punitive and regular, smaller and rarer, and other elements of the rightist agenda–made in the teeth of recent, well-reasoned, but contrary precedent, are worth the cost to the long-run stability of the court system.
Wheels turn; someday a different majority will have the votes to do the opposite. Are we better off when all precedents are on the table, when all consequential judicial outcomes are ‘political’ in the sense that the number one consideration is who has the votes?
I recognize that there has always been an element of who-has-the-votes in judicial decisions in matters of ‘high politics’ and on so-called ‘open questions’. Perhaps one might put the death penalty in the ‘high politics’ bucket, although I wouldn’t, but since when is access to tort damages there? What we have now is open season on everything. In the long run I think that will be to no one’s advantage, which is one reason why I start with a presumption of retention even for judges I may disagree with.
You are of course entitled, as is every voter, to a different weighing of the probable costs and benefits over the long term. But please at least do value the long term and not just the now.
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Thank you for providing one option to evaluate and help in my decision making process. It is important to know the specifics of each Judge’s rulings and their motives.
I guess NOTA thinks he/she is clever. However, it further strengthens my resolve and just proves what you are saying. Instead of Nota countering with opposing reasons, he/she chooses to just just blow hot air and slander…
There is nothing more frightening than ignorance in action. And, we are seeing a lot of it over the last several years.