TV spots blasting Florida Supreme Court to air todayby John Kennedy | September 25th, 2012
Television spots blasting the Florida Supreme Court over the federal Affordable Care Act are scheduled to begin running today in West Palm Beach and other markets, paid for by Americans for Prosperity, the conservative grassroots group founded by the Koch brothers.
Slade O’Brien, Florida state director of the organization, said the ads don’t directly call for voters to oust Justices Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince or Fred Lewis, who are up for merit retention on Nov. 6. Instead, O’Brien said the “intent is to call attention to judicial activism and legislating from the bench.”
The Florida Republican Party said last week that its leaders have agreed to oppose the three justices seeking new six-year terms. Another organization, Restore Justice 2012, has been active most of the year to unseat the three justices, the last appointments of late Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles, although Quince was named jointly with incoming Republican Gov. Jeb Bush.
The AFP spots are the first TV ads aired in the campaign. The three justices have raised just over $1 million, combined, to defend themselves.
In its ad, AFP targets the Florida Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that upheld a lower court which stripped from the ballot a measure intended to block the federal health care overhaul from taking effect in the state.
The court ruled the proposed constitutional amendment was flawed because it promised guaranteed access to health care services without waiting lists, would protect doctor-patient relationships, and prohibit mandates that don’t work.
Opponents said the ballot summary deceived the public since the amendment did not directly address those issues, but was written solely to draw voter support against the federal law advanced by President Obama.
An effort to place the full text of the amendment before voters that year also was rejected. The Leon County Circuit judge who made the initial ruling, James Shelfer, said that to do so would amount to “legislating from the bench.”
A rewritten version of the proposal is now set to go before voters in November as Amendment 1.
Americans for Prosperity is a grass-roots activist organization founded by Charles Koch and part-time Palm Beacher David Koch.
The brothers, who run Koch Industries, an oil services company, back a host of conservative causes. Each has a net worth of $31 billion, which last week placed them fourth on Forbes magazine’s list of wealthiest Americans.
AFP on the national stage has run TV ads against Obama and provided phone banks, rallies and get-out-the-vote efforts central to the Republican Party’s takeover of the U.S. House in the 2010 elections.
The organization has fought climate change legislation and the Affordable Care Act, and push for limite