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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Supreme Court rules against Gov. Rick Scott in rule-making case



The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Gov. Rick Scott "overstepped his constitutional authority and violated the separation of powers" with an executive order freezing all rules until he could approve them.

The court, in a 5-2 opinion, concluded that rule-making authority belongs to the Legislature, not the governor.

Rosalie Whiley, a blind woman from Opa-locka, charged that Scott took over the Legislature's constitutional authority to direct rule-making when he signed the executive order requiring his review of all rules through his newly created Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform. The order, Whiley said, delayed a rule that would make it easier for her to apply for food stamps online.

The governor ultimately approved the rule specific to Whiley's case.

Scott's attorney, Charles Trippe, argued that the "supreme executive power" granted the governor by the state Constitution is among the reasons he has final say over rules developed by state agencies under his control to implement laws passed by the Legislature.

The court, though, rejected that argument, saying such a reading of the phrase supreme executive power "ignores the fundamental principle that our state constitution is a limitation upon, rather than a grant of, power."

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 12:03pm]


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