Florida Senate Judicial Confirmation Amendment (2012)

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A Florida Senate Judicial Confirmation Amendment did not make the November 6, 2012 state ballot in Florida as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment.

The measure would have required Senate confirmation of justices and judges subject to merit-retention vote. At the time of the proposal, a judicial nominating commission convenes to interview and present the governor with a list of three to six qualified nominees. The governor then proceeds to select on the nominees. The proposed measure would have eliminated the constitutional requirement for a judicial nominating committee. The governor would have been allowed to nominate any qualified candidate, however the candidate would have been subject to Senate confirmation. The Senate would have had a total of 180 days to vote on the nominee. If a vote did not happen or failed, the governor would have to make another nomination.[1]

If the bill was referred to the ballot, it would have required 60 percent voter approval for adoption.

Background

Several judicial reform measures were proposed by the legislature in early 2011 for the 2012 statewide ballot. The proposals were developed following the removal of three legislatively-referred measures in 2010 by state courts. Measures removed from the ballot included: Florida Redistricting, Amendment 7, Florida Property Tax Limit, Amendment 3 and Florida Healthcare Freedom, Amendment 9.

Judicial reform proposals filed legislators include amendments to judicial qualifications, appointee certification, judicial retention, court rules, release of court records and splitting the Florida Supreme Court into two courts. The list of proposals can be viewed here.

Support

Sen. John Thrasher said, "Senate confirmation, in my opinion, simply adds an independent analysis of the merits and qualifications of the candidates."[2]

Opposition

Steve Metz, chief legislative counsel for the Florida Bar, argued that the measure could slow the process, particularly when the legislature is not in session. "You're going to ask really good people, really good lawyers, to perhaps put their practice on hold indefinitely," Metz said.[2]

Path to the ballot

See also: Florida law for legislatively-referred constitutional amendments

In order to qualify for the November 2012 ballot the proposed amendment required approval by a minimum of 60% in the both the House and the Senate. The proposal died in committee in May 2011.

See also

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