Group touts 'report card' on Fla. SC justices

Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 6, 2012, 3:00pm




TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - A group working to help oust three members of the Florida Supreme Court announced Saturday it will be traveling the state this month, touting its so-called "report card" on the three justices.

Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince are all up for a merit retention vote this fall.

Under a merit retention system, the governor appoints new justices from a list of three to six names submitted by the state's Judicial Nominating Commission. He or she then must select from the list.

Once appointed, justices eventually must face the voters in a "yes" or "no" vote as to whether they should remain on the bench.

Restore Justice 2012 recently came out with its six-point Merit Retention Score Card, or report card, failing all three of the justices on the following issues: homeowners' rights, patients' rights, education, right to vote, criminal justice and "junk" lawsuits.

To see a copy of the group's report card, click here.

On Saturday, Restore Justice announced it will be traveling the state on what it calls a "Score Card Tour."

Jesse Phillips, president of Restore Justice, and other grassroots leaders will be speaking to potential voters about the records of Lewis, Pariente and Quince before they decide whether to retain the justices for another six-year term.

"Our voter guide is the product of nearly two years of research into their decisions, dialog with legal experts and insiders and discussion among concerned voters," Phillips said in a statement.

"We are very excited that for the first time in the history of the state of Florida, citizens will have a real source of information about the rulings the Supreme Court has made on issues important to families and taxpayers."

Restore Justice will be distributing its report card to voters in Brevard, Broward, Clermont, Jacksonville, Naples, Pinellas, Tampa and The Villiages through the end of September.

More stops will be scheduled later, the group said.

This isn't the first time Lewis, Pariente and Quince have been targeted.

Two Seminole County men filed a lawsuit this summer requesting that the three justices be removed from the November ballot.

Last month, Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis threw out the suit.

The plaintiffs, Bernard Long and Veronco L. "Ron" Flores, alleged that Lewis, Pariente and Quince broke the law when they stopped a court hearing on a Senate redistricting plan so they could finish paperwork to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot.

"The delay caused by the justices cost Florida taxpayers thousands of dollars in additional legal fees for private outside counsel who were forced to wait while the justices worked on their campaign documents," Long and Flores' lawsuit alleged.

"Upon information and belief, the justices campaigns have not reimbursed the State of Florida or any private litigant for their costs and expenses caused by the delay."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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