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Sunday, May 01, 2016
Opinion

An 'unprecedented' decision

We are deeply concerned about the Sept. 21 decision of the eight-member Republican Party of Florida executive board to recommend a "no" vote for the retention of Florida Supreme Court Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara J. Pariente and Peggy A. Quince. Since the passage of the merit selection/retention system into our state constitution in 1976, both major political parties have maintained neutrality out of respect for the independence of the judiciary and the strong desire of the citizens of Florida to keep politics out of the courts. The justices who are up for merit retention on the November ballot have served ably and honestly. Each was retained by the voters in 2006 and immediately after their respective appointments. As policymakers, we respect the balance of power between our three branches of government. Each of us has been disappointed in one ruling or another from this and other courts. But the need for a fair and impartial judiciary far outweighs our individual disagreements with any specific opinion.
We encourage the RPOF to reconsider this unprecedented insertion of politics into what has been a system that has served Florida and her citizens well. We hope that additional Republicans will make their voices heard over the upcoming weeks so voters understand that Justices Lewis, Pariente and Quince have served with distinction and deserve to be retained on the court. Paula Dockery Lakeland Rene Garcia Hialeah Dennis Jones Seminole

The writers are all Republicans who serve in the Florida Senate.
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