Florida Bar: 90-percent of citizens unaware they have a vote on whether judges stay

Apr 30, 2012

The Florida Bar launched a $300,000 campaign Monday to educate voters about what role they play in determining whether state Supreme Court Justices and appellate judges stay in office. As Sascha Cordner reports, the effort comes amid questions about the retention of three justices.

Supreme Court Justices Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente, and Peggy Quince have recently come under fire following claims that they illegally used court employees to file paperwork for their campaign. They’ve also been criticized by some conservatives for a 2010 ruling in favor of the federal health care law. But, Florida Bar President Scott Hawkins says while he’s not endorsing any particular judge, it’s important voters look at their track record when making a decision in the November election:

8-to-9,000 cases come across their desk in one way shape or form. So, I ask you is it fair to evaluate a justice on the basis of one ruling and disregard the 7,999 other matters that came before their desk?”

Polling shows about 90-percent of Florida voters are unaware they can vote on justices and appeals court judges, and they often skip that section on the ballot.