[author: Brian C. Willis]
Here is a selection of news and commentary on Florida’s proposed constitutional amendment 5 from around the state.
From the Palm Beach Post:
A proposed constitutional amendment that would change the way Florida Supreme Court justices are appointed and give the legislature more control over court rules isn’t a power grab, said a House Speaker who pushed the proposal.
But opponents say Amendment 5 is payback on the part of lawmakers angered by the high court’s decisions removing previous constitutional amendments from the ballot and ignoring the legislature’s instructions.
Amendment 5 deals with the powers of the courts and the legislature. If you vote “yes” on Amendment 5, that means you want the Florida State Senate to have confirmation power over state Supreme Court appointees, and you also want to allow the House to have access to investigation files when a judge is being investigated.
If you vote “no” on Amendment 5, it would mean that you want things to stay as they are regarding the powers of the courts and the legislature.
From The Citrus Daily:
The proposal has garnered opposition from judges across the state and The Florida Bar, the legal group that represents the state’s 90,000 lawyers.
From The Insurance Journal:
The proposal, pushed through the Legislature by outgoing Republican Speaker Dean Cannon, is seen by the GOP and several conservative groups as crucial to making the court more accountable. Opponents, including The Florida Bar and trial lawyers’ groups, contend it’s a power grab and a blatant threat to the judicial independence.
If approved, Amendment 5 would take sole authority to appoint Supreme Court justices away from the governor and subject them to confirmation by the state Senate. It would also allow both houses of the Florida Legislature to repeal court rules with a simple majority vote, rather than the two-thirds vote now required.
From The Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
Passage of this amendment would expand the Legislature’s reach into the judicial branch. It would require Senate confirmation of state Supreme Court justices, make it easier for legislators to override rules for the court system and make confidential files of the Judicial Qualifications Commission available to the speaker of the House of Representatives.
See my prior post to understand the proposed changes from amendment 5.