Eric Giunta
Conflict of interest? Unions endorse justices while Florida Supreme Court decides their case
By Eric Giunta
October 4, 2012

While prominent lawyers and interest groups around Florida are vociferously condemning organized opposition to the November retention of three of the Sunshine State's Supreme Court justices, they are curiously silent on one party's entrance into the public debate: the public-sector unions.

The Florida State Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and Florida Professional Firefighters (FPF) held a press conference Monday denouncing the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) for its week-old press release announcing the state GOP's opposition to the merit-retention campaign of Justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, and Peggy Quince.

The justices are accused of being left-wing judicial activists by the RPOF and by Restore Justice 2012, the not-for-profit that is spearheading efforts to remove them from the ballot in November. The two organizations have been criticized by prominent lawyers from the state of injecting politics and partisanship into the merit-retention race.

Critics include former Republican state Sen. Alex Villalobos, former Democratic state representative and American Bar Association president Sandy D'Alemberte, six former Supreme Court justices, several newspaper editorial boards and the pro-retention organizations Democracy at Stake and Defend Justice from Politics.

But for all their willingness to publicly criticize opponents of the justices for politicizing the retention race, none of these persons or organizations has offered a word of public criticism of the police or fire unions. Opponents of the justices are crying foul, not only because of a perceived double standard but because the Supreme Court is presently deliberating on a high-profile lawsuit brought by these unions against the Republican state Legislature's 2011 pension reforms.

Catch the rest of the story at Sunshine State News.

© Eric Giunta


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