Scott says Fla’s three embattled justices should “comply with the law”by John Kennedy | June 25th, 2012
Gov. Rick Scott weighed-in Monday for the first time on three Florida Supreme Court justices whose actions on candidate qualifying day are now subject of an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“They should comply with the law,” Scott said. “It’s the Supreme Court. You’d think they’d comply with the law.”
The three justices under fire, Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince and Fred Lewis, also are subject of a lawsuit filed Monday in Leon County Circuit Court. The suit, advanced by the conservative Southeastern Legal Foundation, seeks to remove the three from the November ballot “if no documentation exists to establish that their candidacies are proper and lawful.”
In April, the justices were helped by court staff to complete their papers just minutes before a deadline for judicial qualifying. Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, later steered Scott to a section of state elections law which bars candidates from using public employees during working hours in the “furtherance of his or her candidacy.”
A violation is a first-degree misdemeanor. Scott this month forwarded Plakon’s request for an investigation onto the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which has since begun a probe.
Plakon was the sponsor of a proposed 2010 ballot measure aimed at bolstering Republican attempts to keep the federal health care law from being enacted in Florida, a goal Scott shares. The proposed ballot language was ruled unconstitutional by the court, although a rewritten measure is expected to go before voters in November.
The justices’ qualifying kerfuffle also has been seized on by opponents of the three justices, already tarred as a liberal-leaning bloc by a tea party-linked political committee called Restore Justice 2012. The campaign is seeking to make the trio the first Florida justices ever ousted in a merit retention campaign.