Opposition to Florida Supreme Court's efforts to limit judicial lobbying power

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The Judicial Update

April 12, 2012

Tallahassee, Florida: Some judges are becoming upset about new restrictions imposed on them by the Florida Supreme Court this year. The court is attempting to curb the lobbying power of the state's judges, some of whom recently lobbied legislators to build a $50 million courthouse, nicknamed the "Taj Mahal". Some news outlets have referred to it as a scandal, and the Supreme Court is cracking down.

State circuit court judges have formally asked the court to rescind the rules, which were passed in February. These rules would prohibit judges from going directly to state lawmakers with their requests and suggestions, requiring such requests to first be approved by the Supreme Court and the administrative committees that control the budget. Also, the Supreme Court has put an eight-year cap on term limits for chief judges, a move which the 5th District Court of Appeal has already formally opposed.

The Conference of Circuit Judges has filed an objection to the new rules, saying that they limit judges' free speech. Judge Ronald Ficarrotta, the chair of that organization, explained, "This could result in an unnecessarily harsh consequence for a judge making an unapproved, yet good faith, recommendation or comment about judicial branch policy."[1] The Supreme Court has not yet responded to the objections.[1]

References

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