Articles Posted in Florida Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court invalidating and enjoining the Constitutional Revision Commission’s Revision 1, designated as Amendment 6 and entitled “Rights of Crime Victims; Judges,” from placement on the ballot, holding that it was not clearly and conclusively demonstrated that the ballot title and summary were misleading and did not reasonably inform voters of the chief purpose of Amendment 6. The circuit court struck Amendment 6 from the ballot, finding that the ballot summary and title were misleading. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s injunction, holding that read together, the title and summary reasonably informed voters of the chief purpose and effect of the proposed amendment, namely that it would create victims’ rights, would require de novo review of agency interpretations of statutes and rules, would raise judges’ and justices’ mandatory retirement age, and would no longer allow completion of a judicial term if one-half of the term had already been served by retirement age. View "Department of State v. Hollander" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the circuit court in granting a petition for writ of quo warranto and ordering that ballot titles and summaries of three proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution be stricken from the November 2018 general election ballot, holding that the petition was improperly granted. The amendments at issue were Amendments 7, 9, and 11. In reversing the decision of the circuit court and ordering that the amendments appear on the ballot for the November 2018 general election, the Supreme Court held that the circuit court (1) abused its discretion in granting the petition because the standard for obtaining quo warranty relief was not satisfied; and (2) incorrectly found any deficiency in the proposals or ballot summaries on the merits. View "Detzner v. Anstead" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of the League of Women Voters and enjoining Kenneth Detzner, Secretary of the Florida Department of State, from placing Revision 8 on the ballot for the November 2018 general election, holding that the ballot language was defective. The revision at issue sought to revise Article IX, Section 4(b) of the Florida Constitution and allow the power to authorize new charter schools to be assigned to any of a variety of potential public or private entities, rather than district school boards. The circuit court concluded that both the ballot text and summary failed to inform voters of the chief purpose and effect of the proposal and that the ballot summary was affirmatively misleading. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ballot summary failed to inform voters of the revision’s true meaning and ramifications, and therefore, the ballot language was clearly and conclusively defective. View "Detzner v. League of Women Voters of Florida" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court holding that the ballot title and summary of a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution (Amendment 13) were clearly and conclusively defective, vacated the injunction forbidding Amendment 13 from appearing on the November 2018 general election ballot, and ordered that Amendment 13 appear on the ballot for the November 2018 general election ballot. Specifically, the Court held (1) Amendment 13’s ballot language is not clearly and conclusively defective for failing to inform voters of Amendment’s fundamental value provision; (2) the ballot language does not misstate the effect of Amendment 13; and (3) the ballot language does not mislead voters with respect to Amendment 13’s scope. View "Department of State v. Florida Greyhound Ass’n" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court validating the ballot title and summary of a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution (Amendment 10), holding that the circuit court did not err in concluding that Amendment 10 should be included on the November 2018 ballot. Plaintiffs argued that the ballot title and summary of Amendment 10 mislead voters by failing sufficiently to describe Amendment 10’s chief purpose. The circuit court granted final summary judgment in favor of Defendants, concluding that the ballot language would enable the average voter to understand the primary effect of Amendment 10. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ballot language was not misleading in any of the ways advanced by Plaintiffs. View "County of Volusia v. Detzner" on Justia Law

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James Wright, who sought election for the office of Mayor in the City of Miami Gardens, tendered a check to qualify as a candidate for the office. The check was returned due to a banking error. After qualifying had ended, Wright was informed of this bank error. Pursuant to Fla. Stat. 99.061(7)(a)1., Wright was disqualified. Wright filed this action seeking declaratory and mandamus relief against the City, the City Clerk, and the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections (collectively, Defendants). Specifically, Wright sought to require Defendants to recognize him as a properly and validly qualified candidate for the office of Mayor in the August 30 election. The trial court denied relief, concluding that section 99.061(7)(a)1. explicitly required the City Clerk to disqualify Wright. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court quashed the decision below, holding that the law unconstitutionally erects a barrier that is an unnecessary restraint on one’s right to seek elective office. The Court, therefore, severed the portion of section 14 of chapter 2011-40, Laws of Florida, that amends section 99.061(7)(a)1. of the Florida Statues and, thus, the version of section 99.061(7)(a)1. in existence prior to the 2011 amendments was revived by operation of law. View "Wright v. City of Miami Gardens" on Justia Law

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Tyron Francois, a Democrat, filed paperwork to run as a write-in candidate for Broward County Commission for District 2. A resident voter filed a complaint alleging that Francois was not properly qualified to be a write-in candidate because he did not physically live within the boundaries of the district as required by Fla. Stat. 99.0615. In response, Francois argued that section 99.0615 is facially unconstitutional. The circuit court found that section 99.0615 is constitutional and disqualified Francois as a write-in candidate. The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed, concluding that the statute is facially unconstitutional because the timing of its residency requirement for write-in candidates conflicts with the timing of the residency requirement for county commission candidates as established by Fla. Const. art. VIII, 1(e). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 99.0615 contravenes the residency requirement applicable to county commissioners under Fla. Const. art. VIII, 1(e), and thus Francois properly qualified as a write-in candidate; and (2) write-in candidates are included within the intended meaning of “opposition” as used in a different constitutional provision, and therefore, it was appropriate for the Democratic Party’s primary election to be closed to only Democratic-registered voters. View "Brinkmann v. Francois" on Justia Law

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This opinion was intended to bring finality to litigation concerning the state’s congressional redistricting that has spanned nearly four years in state courts. This case was before the Supreme Court for approval of a final congressional districting plan in accordance with the Court’s previous opinion in Apportionment VII and the Fair Districts Amendment. The Court approved in full the trial court’s “Order Recommending Adoption of a Remedial Map,” and directed that the plan approved here shall be used in the 2016 congressional elections and thereafter until the next decennial redistricting. In so doing, the Court rejected the Legislature’s contention that this decision moves the “goalposts” on the Legislature in its redrawing of the districts and dismissed the contention that the courts adopted a plan drawn by “Democratic operatives.” View "League of Women Voters v. Detzner" on Justia Law

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In 2010, voters approved an amendment to the Florida Constitution providing for express new state constitutional standards to govern the apportionment of legislative districts. Those standards were enumerated in Fla. Const. art. III, 21. Pursuant to its Fla. Const. art. III, 16 jurisdiction, the Supreme Court declared the Legislature's original plan apportioning districts for the Senate to be facially invalid, whereupon the Legislature adopted a revised plan. The Supreme Court upheld the facial validity of the revised plan. Plaintiffs subsequently filed a complaint alleging that the revised Senate map violated the express standards contained in article III, section 21. The Legislature moved to dismiss the complaint with prejudice, asserting that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate a challenge to the 2012 legislative apportionment plan. After the circuit court denied the motion, the Legislature sought extraordinary relief directing the circuit court to dismiss the complaint. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court had subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate fact-based challenges to the validity of the 2012 legislative apportionment plan, that the circuit court's exercise of jurisdiction here would not interfere with the binding judgment of the Supreme Court, and that the Legislature failed to meet its burden of demonstrating entitlement to relief. View "Fla. House of Representatives v. League of Women Voters of Fla. " on Justia Law

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This case was before the court for review of the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Snipes v. Telli, which held that the Florida Constitution permitted Broward County to impose term limits on the office of the county commissioner. Because the court receded from its decision in Cook v. City of Jacksonville, the court approved the Fourth District's decision and held that Broward County's term limits did not violate Florida's Constitution. View "Telli v. Broward County, et al." on Justia Law