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How Could Judicial Term Limits Hurt Florida?

April 5, 2016
Colson Hicks Eidson

It takes years of experience to build a judge that is versatile enough to handle the complex nature of the Florida Supreme Court. So why would we limit the time a judge has to gain this experience, and why would we kick a judge that has already gained that experience off the bench? Politics.

How Could Judicial Term Limits Hurt Florida?

The state’s Supreme Court struck down congressional and state Senate district maps proposed by lawmakers in the legislature. The ruling caused two special sessions to redraw the district lines, and though no one will directly admit it, a new bill may be a direct response to the rejected maps.

The legislature has suggested a term limit for judges serving on the Supreme Court of Florida. This new term limit suggestion would replace the current system, which allows Floridians to vote on whether or not a judge retains their seat in the court. This could take part of the citizen’s power to control the judiciary away, and give more power to the legislature. However, the effects could be even deeper than just the political implications.

Our state invests massive amounts of time and money into educating our judges, but this new bill wants to throw those efforts away. It would impose a limit of two six-year terms on judges elected to the Supreme Court—a time limit that would take away our respected jurists’ time to master the judiciary—and it would dismiss good jurists who have already gained the experience they need to uphold our justice system.

This measure could also have a negative effect on the checks and balances of our state, and could limit the judiciary branch’s ability to police the executive and legislative branch. That mismanagement could lead to deep corruption, and it could spell disaster for our state government.

March 11th is the day this legislative session ends. If the bill makes it past the House and Senate, then it will be up to the residents of Florida to reject this bill and maintain the power of our state courts. Maintain your legal rights and be sure to let your local representatives know that this bill is unacceptable.

This was a message from the attorneys at Colson Hicks Eidson, protecting Florida and the people who call it home for over 40 years.