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Florida Supreme Court rules against Scott, finds he violated separation of powers

by Dara Kam | August 16th, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott overstepped his authority and violated the separation of powers by freezing state agency rulemaking, the Florida Supreme Court ruled today.

Shortly after he was sworn in as governor on Jan. 4, Scott suspended agency rulemaking and required the proposed rules be vetted by his office. He later created the “Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform” to review the rules, saying he wanted to make sure they did not slow down government, create barriers for businesses or cost taxpayers money.

But in a 5-2 ruling, the court found that Scott’s executive orders “infringe upon the very process of rulemaking and encroach upon the Legislature‘s delegation of its rulemaking power as set forth in the Florida Statutes.”

Chief Justice Charles Canady and Judge Ricky Polston, both appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist, dissented. Scott acted within his constitutional authority as the state’s chief administrative officer whose duty is “to manage, plan, and hold agencies under his charge accountable to State laws, including the APA. The actual facts before us do not demonstrate otherwise,” Polston wrote.

Canady called the majority opinion an “ill-conceived interference with the constitutional authority and responsibility of Florida‘s Governor.”

Scott also saw it that way.

“It doesn’t make any sense to me,” Scott said of the court ruling. “I don’t think it follows the constitution. It’s a disappointment.

“Think about it, the secretaries of these agencies report to me, they work for me at will, and I’m not supposed to supervise them? It doesn’t make sense,” he added.

Rosalie Whiley, a blind woman who receives food stamps, filed the lawsuit against Scott and was later joined by opponents of Scott’s new procedure, including Audubon of Florida.

Tuesday’s ruling apparently settles one of at least a half-dozen lawsuits filed against Scott since he took office eight months ago.

Florida Democrats praised the decision.

“Today, the Florida Supreme Court found that Governor Rick Scott – once again – ignored the law by exceeding his authority and overstepping the Florida Constitution in a continued effort to promote his Tea Party agenda. This is the kind of disregard for the law, and the people of Florida, that we have come to expect from this Governor and Republican Legislature,” Florida Democratic Party executive director Scott Arcenaux said in a statement.

Since his election, the governor has launched a wide-ranging rule review process which — while so far producing few proposed changes — he apparently will continue, despite the court setback.

“Part of my seven step plan was to look at the rules of this state,” Scott said. “When you look at what we’ve got to do to grow jobs…if we don’t really continue to think about the regulations killing  jobs, we’re not going to grow jobs in our state.”

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29 Responses to “Florida Supreme Court rules against Scott, finds he violated separation of powers”

  1. Downtown Danny Says:

    Another “Flea Party” liar who claimed he would make gov smaller – but added another layer of government with his “Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform” – which is nothing more than a Nazi-style way to subvert citizens rights.
    It is now clear to everyone – Scott is not fit for public office of any kind. When we stop voting for anyone with money who runs ads claiming they are great – instead of actually looking at their record of crime. No one who’s company was fined over $1 billion for stealing from taxpayers should be put into public office. If thats not corruption what is?

  2. Thomas Says:

    Wow. that’s what happens when you are governor, but you think you are CEO. The man has proven himself incapable of representing the people of Florida from the day he stepped into office. The Tea Party is even starting to shy away from him, and that’s about rock bottom in the political world.

  3. Susie Sunshine Says:

    skeletor, we do NOT have kings in America – get a freakin’ clue.
    And, please, wake up sheople of Florida.
    Pink Slip Rick!

  4. rdc Says:

    Oh Voldemort, when will you learn? Deregulation is a BAD idea…look at the mortgage/loan crisis we’re still in. It’s a direct result of the repeal of Glass Steagall and the deregulation of the finance industry. Now you want to deregulate the state and open it up to your buddies to rape and pillage as they see fit. And what will we be left with??

  5. Tea Lady Says:

    Scott said: “When you look at what we’ve got to do to grow jobs…if we don’t really continue to think about the regulations killing jobs, we’re not going to grow jobs in our state.”

    Governor Scott is spot-on! We need to reduce or eliminate the onerous and senseless regulations (and job-killing taxes) on job creators.

    How disheartening that the Florida State Supreme Court will not allow our elected governor to perform his duties as defined by the Florida Constitution.

    Perhaps the Legislature should consider putting an amendment on the ballot, “clarifying” this issue for the Supreme Court.

  6. Coffee Lady Says:

    Yes, Scott is spot-on!… skid spot-on a piece of toilet paper.

    Now can we fire his freakish a s s.

    I think he is dyslexic, he meant he could eliminate 700,000 jobs in 7 years.

  7. rdc Says:

    keep drinking the Kool Aid Tea Lady. We as a state has the best business climate in terms of tax rates in the nation. We are fifth overall in terms of being business friendly. And we have been since at least 2006 (source:
    And it hasn’t helped us one little bit. Perhaps if we focused on having the kind of educated, skilled laborers that businesses want, we’d have good paying jobs coming into the state.

  8. teabaggin man Says:

    Tea Lady,
    It is painfully obvious you only know what you are told , and nothing else. ” Job killing taxes” ????????? what josb killing taxes?????? Florida has the fifth lowest corporate taxes in the NATION!!!! And we are the only one in the top five that is a ” warm climate” state. Enough is enough!!! LIES!, LIES!! AND MORE LIES!!! Thats all people like you believe. You are not smart enough to come in out of the rain , but you want to debate statutory taxation. The ignorance ….

  9. Truthman Says:

    With regulations and rules in place for many years there was low unemployment. Only an idiot would say the reason for high unemployment is due to business regulations. In fact regulating businesses to ensure consumer safety actually creates jobs. Only the criminal mind wants to eliminate regulations, rules and laws.

  10. robo 3495 Says:

    Tealady, you said the same thing with subsidies in another story. Wow if we listened to you we would be living in the 1800″s. Kids would be working 80 hours a week, our dinking water be undrinkable and of course we would have no roads to drive on. A perfect tea party world.

  11. Educator (The Real One) Says:

    Tea Lady,

    You are an obviously uneducated, septic, racist, southern lunatic who embraces the values and culture of an oppressive society which is rapidly disappearing. You posted earlier today that the USA has high taxes, you are either incredibly daft or a blatant liar The USA is the Bargain Basement of the world in terms of taxes and real estate. Please tell us what “industrialized” nation(your term) has LOWER taxes? You truly represent your ridiculous “party”

  12. Unreal Says:

    As much as i would like to see Scott break the back of some of the regulators, i have to agree with this ruling with respect to statutory guidelines. If he wants to change the rules, get the legislature to change the statutes.
    Conversely this same theory should apply nationally, where Bush and Obama have ruled by fiat through various agencies. Those rule changes NOT passed by Congress should be invalidated as an overstep by the Executive branch.
    Where are those lawsuits?

  13. Searcher Says:


  14. Unreal Says:

    @truthman Not only he criminal minds wants a reduction in regulations. Right now we have a climate of reduced profitability for construction project particularly. A reduction in regulation would speed up permitting and spur more investment for people who can realize the reduce regulatory cost.
    Consider what jobs are created by charging impact fees on development, that are not charged in the tax base of the project after completion.
    There are none. It is a front loaded method of revenue usually 6+ figures that hampers development and job creation.
    And not every developer/contractor is a criminal. Although Palm Beach seems to have a plethora of them.

  15. jac Says:

    The GOP voters got what they wanted another four years of nothing.

  16. Tom Says:

    One term and out for this right wing rube.

  17. Janet Says:

    Impeach Rick Scott, he has overstepped his boundaries too many times.

  18. LMB Says:

    Where was this guy’s oversight when HIS company stole BILLION$ from Medicare?
    Sure…and now the very same JACKASSES who voted this guy into power are scratching their heads. He is and always be a crook..a kin to.. Richard “The Dick” Nixon.

  19. unbelievable Says:

    @ tea lady,
    stop getting your info from bumper stickers. Do you really think or just follow. These super rich people that you love don’t have your best interest at heart. Stop being manipulated.

  20. wpbdenise Says:

    Does this mean we can impeach him? Somewhere in the State of Florida a village is missing an idiot.

  21. Jon Cleary Says:

    What is it going to take for the people to demand a recall election? Nothing with this guy surprises me anymore. His gall and complete disregard for the rule of law coupled with the fact that he was apart of a multimillion dollar fraudulent act against the government, is disturbing. Yet, he continues to function and instill programs/policy with little opposition. Take away the paid commentary from Tea Dyke and the other employees of the Governor, this guy doesn’t have one person supporting him. This is the epitome of not giving a crap about who or what happens in Government. Someone with connections has to start the process of ridding this State of this clown. We can’t afford his irresponsibility or ignorance. Government was not meant to run this way.

  22. Elmer Says:

    You sure have a lot of sore democrats.They always have a better way to screw up the country.I believe Scott should be able to manage all the secretaries in the different departments.There is no fox guarding the hen house in Fla.And I know how hard it is to get the legs. to pass regs to keep the people in line.

  23. Florida Native Says:

    Ricky Scott and the rest of the scum bag liar republican tea baggies: They compaigned on creating 700,000 new jobs, no new taxes, and not cutting the education budget. And what did we get?
    Public education slashed!
    Insurance rates hiked up and still climbing!
    Job creation!? What job creation? Where?!
    All Ricky Scott and the tea baggies did was funnel money to Ricky Scott and themselves. Ricky Scott has already bought his new home in Montana! When he is through here he is gone!

    Ricky Scott and his tea baggie friends are a menace to Florida and American society.

  24. BigArch Says:

    Most of the rest of the country would love to have Rick Scott as their governor but here in the good ole Sunshine State we have a surplus of left wing loons who would rather have a communist such as sits in the whitehouse.
    Rick Scott is trying to make this government a little more effective and bring in some jobs. I realize that millions of people had rather sit around collecting their gubmint check and smoking dope instead of actully working for a living.
    Sad times indeed.

  25. ralphyboy Says:

    Where’s the story about S&P RAISING Florida’s credit rating to AAA, because of the way the budget situation has been handled by Scott and the Republican controlled legislature?

  26. raspalena Says:

    where are the 700,000 jobs?

  27. DrDeath Says:

    Again, Scott and the legislature should stick to what they do best. Taking away people’s civil rights, voting rights and anti-gay legislation. Also blaming our poor school scores on teachers and unions. They are the reason why our schools rank about 38th out of 50 states. They also need to concentrate more on anti-abortion legislation, religious license plates, their views of family values and pushing the churches agenda that priests have failed to do. Maybe bring back slavery, segregation and anti- Jewish laws banning Jews in Palm Beach county, like the good old days, might also score big points with their “base”

  28. Pandev Says:

    Thanks for you informations George..

  29. Christine Says:

    Nice Info. Thanks

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