Rick Scott advances his right to make court appointments
In a case that could alter the future of Florida’s highest court, Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday reasserted his right to appoint three new justices to the state Supreme Court before he leaves office in January.
Responding to a lawsuit asking the Florida Supreme Court to intervene, Scott’s lawyers said the governor retains the power to select replacements for justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince, who are all leaving the court in early January because they have reached the mandatory retirement age.
The lawsuit, filed by the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause, has asked the Supreme Court to block Scott’s action, through a procedure known as a “writ of quo warranto,” arguing the new governor who takes office on Jan. 8 should have that appointment power.
But in the 33-page response filed late Wednesday, Scott’s lawyers said he is following the precedent of beginning the appointment process before the vacancies actually occur, noting numerous justices have been appointed using this procedure in order to avoid prolonged vacancies on the court.
“The petitioners’ interpretation of the applicable constitutional provision is contrary to its plain language, the longstanding historical practice