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Florida Supreme Court justices to discuss independent judiciary at UF Law

Published: October 15th, 2012

Category: News

By Matt Walker
Senior writer

Three Florida Supreme Court justices will discuss the importance of maintaining an independent judicial branch of government in the state of Florida Thursday at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

“The Importance of an Independent Judiciary,” will take place at 1 p.m. in the Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center; it is free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by the Gerald T. Bennett Inn of Court and The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, Law Students Division.

The structure of an independent judicial branch of government in the United States helps to ensure that the judiciary remains free from the outside influence of other government entities and partisan interests. With Election Day rapidly approaching, this issue has come to the forefront in Florida with questions being raised about the state’s process of appointing Supreme Court justices. Currently, Florida Supreme Court justices are retained on the bench through a merit-based system, decided by voters every six years.

The panel discussion and conversation with law students will be moderated by UF Law Dean Emeritus Jon Mills, director of the Center for Governmental Responsibility, and by Carl Schwait, UF Law adjunct professor of law, member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors and senior partner at the Gainesville law firm of Dell Graham PA.

“Judicial independence is a fundamental Constitutional principal and it’s critical that it be protected,” Mills said. “We look forward to hearing the justices speak and to the participation of the students and community in this discussion.”

All seven Florida Supreme Court justices have been invited, and to date, Justices Barbara J. Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy A. Quince are confirmed to appear on the panel. The three justices are on the Nov. 6 ballot for merit retention this year.

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