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Florida activist group blasts term-limit proposal for judges

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

When Pasco County Representative Richard Corcoran was elected as Speaker Designate by his fellow House Republicans in September, he seized the moment on the floor to call for enacting 12-year term limits for all judges.

“We need to shake up the status quo and introduce new energy and purpose into our judicial system,” Corcoran said. “We can do this by enacting 12-year term limits for all judges. No public office — be it state representative, governor or judge — should be for life.”

The day after Corcoran’s speech, Winter Haven Republican John Wood filed HJR 197 in the House. The bill would amend the Florida Constitution to limit Supreme Court justices and appellate judges to two  six-year terms. The day after, Palm Coast Republican State Sen.Travis Hutson filed SJR 322 in the Senate. His legislation would impose 12-year term limits on appellate jurists.

Pushing back on those proposals is the Florida Access to Justice Project.

“This term-limit proposal is another transparent attempt at a power grab by politicians who want to weaken our courts,” said Progress Florida’s Mark Ferrulo in a statement released Wednesday. “Partisans in Tallahassee have been attacking our court system for years now. Fortunately, the voters of Florida have seen through and rejected their efforts every time. We don’t need to limit the terms of the judges on our highest courts:  We need experienced, seasoned jurists on the bench, and we need to keep politics out of our judicial system.”

No other state imposes term limits on judges, aside from New Mexico probate judges.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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