Every six years our Florida Supreme Court justices are brought up for “merit retention.” Since the 1970s, Florida citizens have had the power to retain or remove judges during each election year. This year, Justice Pariente, Justice Quince, and Justice Lewis of the Florida Supreme Court are being targeted by interest groups in what appears to be a political effort to realign the courts. Michles & Booth joins with almost 90% of the Florida lawyers surveyed by the Florida Bar in supporting the justices of the Florida Supreme Court.
Politics and partisanship should play no role in our great judicial system. Florida law prohibits Justices from using a political party affiliation in conjunction with a judicial election, and the Judicial Code of Conduct strictly forbids the justices from disclosing their opinions on political issues. These laws are in place because judges must be truly impartial. Our Supreme Court has a duty to each and every Florida citizen to uphold our constitution with honor, integrity, and impartiality. The fact that a case even reaches the Supreme Court means that citizens cannot agree on an issue and that there is not a law or statute in place to provide an answer. Our system will fail if our Supreme Court justices cannot be confident that they can interpret the Florida Constitution and the laws of our land without worrying about political attacks.
Decisions by our Supreme Court have an immeasurable impact on our society; they often influence decisions decades after a ruling is handed down. Justices know their decisions may not always be popular today, but they cannot—and are not—swayed by this. They recognize that the law must persevere, and that the ebb and flow of the public’s social agenda cannot influence their rulings. Rulings affecting all of Florida’s citizens must be based on the facts and the law, not partisan trends or financial and political influence.
So this election cycle, we urge you to spend the time to research the justices, their rulings, their past decisions, and take the time to see what other lawyers in Florida have to say about their qualifications. And remember, all three justices have been retained in two prior elections by a decisive majority of Florida’s citizens. We hope you will join Michles & Booth in supporting Justice Pariente, Justice Quince, and Justice Lewis this election year, and help us all ensure the citizens of Florida continue to have a Supreme Court that upholds the integrity of our Constitution.