Judicial branch fights back against Dean Cannon's reforms

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Several judicial heavy-hitters, including four former Florida Supreme Court justices and former governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, will hold a press conference Thursday to oppose sweeping changes to the judicial branch advocated by House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, reports the News Service of Florida. Cannon is backing several bills that would dramatically alter the courts, including splitting the Florida Supreme Court into a civil and criminal division. Other changes include: giving the House more access to Judicial Qualifications Commission files to make it easier to impeach sitting judges, giving the governor more authority over judicial nominations, and granting the Florida Supreme Court more power to decide what cases to hear. Until now, opposition to the bill has mostly been confined to the Florida Bar. Now, the coalition of former Supreme Court justices, a former Florida Bar president and a former American Bar Association president, as well as other prominent legal minds, are striking back on Thursday, the same day the House takes up the proposed court reforms in a floor vote. The press release says the group has ?nified opposition to proposed legislation that would radically alter Florida courts, giving the legislative and executive branches of government unreasonable control of the third branch of government.?Many critics have suggested that Cannon? proposals are an attempt to appoint more conservative Supreme Court justices and a reaction to the invalidation by the Supreme Court of several proposed constitutional amendments last year. Cannon has denied this.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.