Saturday, September 22, 2018

Request denied: Florida Supreme Court won’t hear challenge of six proposed amendments

Without comment, the Florida Supreme Court has rejected former chief justice Harry Lee Anstead's request for oral arguments to challenge six proposed constitutional amendments, including Amendment 8.

Anstead and former Elections commissioner Robert Barnas have contended the six measures are unconstitutionally bundled. The items include more than one proposal, tied together under an umbrella such as education or local government.

The plaintiffs argued that packaging prevents voters from making a simple "yes" or "no" decision on them, and that violates the rules.

Past coverage: Former Florida chief justice challenges Amendment 8, five others as unconstitutionally bundled 

The Supreme Court has sent the matter to Leon County Circuit Court for consideration.

"The transfer of this case should not be construed as an adjudication or comment on the merits of the petition nor that the petition has been properly denominated as a petition for writ of quo warranto," the full panel of justices wrote. "The transferee court should not interpret the transfer of this case as an indication that it must or should reach the merits of the petition."

Judges in that circuit already have removed amendments 6 and 8 from the November ballot. The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments on Sept. 5 in the Amendment 8 case, which the Secretary of State has appealed in an effort to return the question to the ballot.

Amendment 8 seeks to establish school board term limits, embed civics education in the constitution, and allow for the creation of a separate public school authorizer apart from school boards. The League of Women Voters and others have called the proposal misleading.

Past coverage: State files briefing with Florida Supreme Court on Amendment 8 case 

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