[author: Brian C. Willis]
Its election day and this is the rare election when a civil procedure issue is on the ballot. Florida’s Constitutional Amendment 5 would change how Florida’s courts operate and how Florida’s Supreme Court Justices are appointed.
Here is the latest coverage of Florida’s proposed Amendment 5.
Dangerous Amendment 5 is threat to democracy
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To know something about the history of Amendment 5 is to appreciate how half-baked the proposal is. What appears on the ballot looks like a constitutional amendment; there certainly is enough legalese to make one think it is a constitutional amendment. But Amendment 5 really represents the Legislature indulging a temper tantrum by the Speaker of the House about the Florida Supreme Court.
Temple Terrace Patch:
Opponents, including the League of Women Voters of Florida, say the amendment would weaken the state’s judiciary in favor of the legislative branch while taking away powers from the Governor.
Supporters say the measure would add more accountability and efficiency in the court system.
There are so many bad constitutional amendments on Florida’s ballot that it’s hard to know where to start.
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Another amendment for which there’s absolutely no public clamor is Amendment 5, which would give legislators unprecedented sway over Florida’s judiciary.
It’s the pet project of House Speaker Dean Cannon, a Winter Park Republican who holds an actual law degree from the University of Florida. Presiding over a legislative body that cranks out one deficient statute after another, Cannon is miffed that the courts keep stomping on them.
His retort is Amendment 5, which would have the state Senate confirm all Supreme Court appointments. Stop laughing – the guy is serious. He thinks state senators should pick our Supreme Court justices.
In addition, Cannon wants the entire Legislature to be able to change, by simple majority votes, procedural rules that govern the courts. Finally, his Amendment 5 allows the House Speaker (currently him) to see the confidential files of any Judicial Nominating Commission.
He calls this “checks and balances,” but it’s really a flagrant dismantling of the constitutional boundaries between the Legislature and the justice system.
The result would be the total political pollution of our courts.
For previous coverage of Amendment 5: