Republican Party seeks to politicize the Florida Judiciary

caines | 10/11/2012, 5:30 a.m.

The general rule is that judges should be apolitical. A judge should make their rulings based upon the facts and law, and at all times be fair and seek justice. Judges do not run based on party affiliation, and in fact the party affiliation of a judge is not known when they are running or appointed for office. In a John Grishman novel, a conservative business group targets a moderate judge to change the balance of power on a State Supreme Court bench. The conservative business group pours millions of dollars into a campaign against the Justice who loses. The end result is that a horrible polluter wins its case before the Supreme Court. It seems that fantasy is now becoming reality. The Florida Supreme Court, an apolitical body, is now under attack by the Republican Party. They have targeted Justice Quince, Justice Lewis and Justice Pariente. All of the Justices are widely respected by attorneys because of their fairness and pursuit of justice. This opinion is held by Republican and Democratic attorneys, liberal and conservative attorneys and even by the conservative Florida Bar Association. No self-respecting attorney wants the judiciary politicized; we want judges who will base their decisions on the law and facts and not on party doctrine. The Florida Bar Association which normally is not involved in politics has taken a position against the Republican Partys open attack on the judiciary and strongly opposes it. Our founding fathers felt that in order to have a balance of power in government that there should be three equal branches of government: the Executive Branch (governor or president), the Legislative Branch and the Judiciary. What we see is an attack on the underpinnings of the constitutional foundation of our government. The Republicans now control the Executive Branch in the person of Governor Scott and hold a majority in the House and Senate of the Florida Legislature. The only Branch of government not controlled by the Republican Party is the Judiciary. The Judiciary to its credit serves as a check on the power of the other two branches by making sure that they comply with the Constitution and the laws of this State. The conservative groups that want to take over the judiciary and politicize it want to do so to ensure that they control all branches of government and there is no check on their power. They intend to pour millions of dollars into advertising to misconstrue the record of three justices and thereby get them out of office, so that Governor Scott can pick judges that follow his agenda instead of judges who follow the law. I strongly recommend all three justices. When you get in the ballot box vote YES to retain Justice Fred Lewis, Justice Peggy Quince and Justice Barbara Pariente. Do not let our judiciary become politicized. Keep the balance of power as our founding fathers desired. Reginald J. Clyne is a partner at Clyne and Associates, P.A. of Miami/Fort Lauderdale. By Reginald J. Clyne, Esq.,Miami Times columnist, rjc@clynelegal.com