Proposing a revision of Article V of the State Constitution relating to the judiciary. The State Constitution authorizes the Supreme Court to adopt rules for the practice and procedure in all courts. The constitution further provides that a rule of court may be repealed by a general law enacted by a two-thirds vote of the membership of each house of the Legislature. This proposed constitutional revision eliminates the requirement that a general law repealing a court rule pass by a two-thirds vote of each house, thereby providing that the Legislature may repeal a rule of court by a general law approved by a majority vote of each house of the Legislature that expresses the policy behind the repeal. The court could readopt the rule in conformity with the public policy expressed by the Legislature, but if the Legislature determines that a rule has been readopted and repeals the readopted rule, this proposed revision prohibits the court from further readopting the repealed rule without the Legislature's prior approval. Under current law, rules of the judicial nominating commissions and the Judicial Qualifications Commission may be repealed by general law enacted by a majority vote of the membership of each house of the Legislature. Under this proposed revision, a vote to repeal those rules is changed to repeal by general law enacted by a majority vote of the legislators present. Under current law, the Governor appoints a justice of the Supreme Court from a list of nominees provided by a judicial nominating commission, and appointments by the Governor are not subject to confirmation. This revision requires Senate confirmation of a justice of the Supreme Court before the appointee can take office. If the Senate votes not to confirm the appointment, the judicial nominating commission must reconvene and may not renominate any person whose prior appointment to fill the same vacancy was not confirmed by the Senate. For the purpose of confirmation, the Senate may meet at any time. If the Senate fails to vote on the appointment of a justice within 90 days, the justice will be deemed confirmed and will take office. The Judicial Qualifications Commission is an independent commission created by the State Constitution to investigate and prosecute before the Florida Supreme Court alleged misconduct by a justice or judge. Currently under the constitution, commission proceedings are confidential until formal charges are filed by the investigative panel of the commission. Once formal charges are filed, the formal charges and all further proceedings of the commission are public. Currently, the constitution authorizes the House of Representatives to impeach a justice or judge. Further, the Speaker of the House of Representatives may request, and the Judicial Qualifications Commission must make available, all information in the commission's possession for use in deciding whether to impeach a justice or judge. This proposed revision requires the commission to make all of its files available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives but provides that such files would remain confidential during any investigation by the House of Representatives and until such information is used in the pursuit of an impeachment of a justice or judge. This revision also removes the power of the Governor to request files of the Judicial Qualifications Commission to conform to a prior constitutional change. This revision also makes technical and clarifying additions and deletions relating to the selection of chief judges of a circuit and relating to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, and makes other nonsubstantive conforming and technical changes in the judicial article of the constitution.
ARTICLE V, SECTIONS 2, 11, AND 12
Proposing a revision of the Judiciary Article of the Florida Constitution; revising standards and procedures for legislative repeal of a court rule and the Supreme Court's readoption of a rule repealed by the Legislature; providing for Senate confirmation of an appointment of a Supreme Court justice; allowing the House of Representatives to review confidential files of the Judicial Qualifications Commission under any circumstances; providing that such files shall remain confidential until the House of Representatives initiates impeachment proceedings; and making other technical, clarifying, and conforming revisions.
ARTICLE V, SECTIONS 2, 11, AND 12
Proposing a revision to Article V of the State Constitution relating to the judiciary; changing the authority of the Legislature to repeal a court rule by two-thirds vote of the membership of each house to a simple majority of each house; limiting the Supreme Court's ability to readopt a rule repealed by the Legislature; requiring Senate confirmation before a justice may take office; providing that if the Senate does not act within 90 days the nominee is deemed confirmed as a justice; allowing the Senate to meet outside of regular session
without having the House of Representatives convene at the same time; deleting outdated references related to the Judicial Qualifications Commission; requiring the Judicial Qualifications Commission to provide the House of Representatives access to records; providing for confidentiality of records provided to the House of Representatives until impeachment is initiated; making conforming and technical changes.