Court administrator: Justice Perry's appointment was not new, not paid, and full court was consulted
In a letter today to the chairman of the House Justice Appropriations Committee, Florida's state courts administrator Patricia "P.K." Jameson attempted to clear up some misconceptions about the Florida Supreme Court's decision to allow a retiring Justice James E.C. Perry to complete unfinished work on the bench. Download 20170130-Letter to House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee
Perry was appointed senior justice by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga in December pending his retirement on Dec. 30. The appointment originally lasted until Sept. 30, 2018 but on Jan. 11 Labarga assigned a new order ending Perry's term tomorrow, saying that when he made the first order, Perry's replacement had not been named at and "it was not known when a new Justice would be appointed to replace him. That issue now has been resolved." Download Perry (James E C) sj orders
In the meantime, House Speaker Richard Corcoran threatened to sue, suggesting that Perry was serving as an unconstitutional "eighth justice." He also sought an end to any reimbursement he may have been paid.
Jameson's note to Rep. Bill Hagar, R-Boca Raton, clarified that Perry wasn't paid, that his appointment is nothing new, that he served in the job to finish up work that might otherwise still be pending and his assignment as a retired justice was done "in consultation with the full court."
"The appointment as a senior justice is distinct from appointment as a senior judge, and there is no compensation provided Senior Justice Perry for his work in that capacity,'' Jameson wrote. "The appointment of a departing justice of the Court as a senior justice allows him or her to continue to serve in that capacity so pending work may be completed efficiently and timely."
She added that "this is not a new procedure" and in the last 20 years, "six different chief justices have issued assignment orders for eight departing justices to serve as senior justices."
Jameson explained that the practice was done "as a matter of judicial efficiency" because "it would take significant time for new justices to review anew cases that may otherwise be disposed much sooner with the participation of a senior justice who heard the case originally."
Corcoran and the House lawyers who prepared his brief argue, however, that the U.S. Supreme Court uses a different system which requires the court to rehear a case when a pending case is not completed before a justice retires or decide the case with the remaining justices. Download DRAFT 2017.xx.xx_Petition for quo warranto