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State Supreme Court

Florida voters do not elect the seven justices who serve on the Florida Supreme Court. When an opening occurs, the governor selects a new justice from a list of suggested nominees. And later, Floridians get to vote, yes or no, on whether those justices should stay on the court. That's why the names of three justices will be on this November's ballot, statewide. This year the normally uncontroversial Supreme Court retention vote has prompted far more debate than normal. One group opposes the justices because it disagrees with a decision the court made to throw out a proposed constitutional amendment concerning health care reform, which the court found improperly worded. The state Republican Party joined the opposition, complaining about a nine-year-old decision (later overturned) to grant a new trial in a death penalty case. But 23 former Florida Bar presidents have signed a statement supporting the three justices. Many in the legal establishment say justices should only be voted off the court if they have done something improper, not just because of a few unpopular rulings. For their part, Democrats say the attack against the justices is really just an attempt to give Republican Gov. Rick Scott the chance to stack the court with three new appointees. Curtis Krueger, Times staff writer

R. Fred Lewis, 64

Supreme Court justice

Barbara Pariente, 63

Supreme Court justice

Peggy A. Quince, 64

Supreme Court justice

Nonpartisan
Experience Lewis was born in Beckley, W.Va., and is an Army veteran. After leaving the military, he entered private practice in Miami as an attorney specializing in civil trial and appellate work. He also has served as inventory attorney for the Florida Bar, reviewing cases handled by other attorneys. He also founded Justice Teaching, which seeks to educate students about law. Lewis was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1998 by Gov. Lawton Chiles, and has served as chief justice. He has worked on issues of mental health and the disabled in relation to the court system. Born in New York City, Pariente moved to Florida in 1973 to clerk for a federal judge. She joined a law firm in 1975, rising to partner, and formed a new law firm in 1983. She specialized in civil trial litigation and became board-certified. She was a board member of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County and as a Supreme Court justice has worked on issues related to children and the courts. She was appointed to the 4th District Court of Appeal in 1993. In 1997 Gov. Lawton Chiles appointed her to the Florida Supreme Court, making her the second woman appointed to the high court. Quince was born in Norfolk, Va. After graduating from law school in 1975, she became a hearing officer in Washington, D.C., and then joined a private law firm in Virginia. She moved to Bradenton in 1978, focusing on general civil law and then went to the state Attorney General's Office to handle criminal law, including death penalty cases. She has been active with the Florida Bar and other organizations. In 1993, Gov. Lawton Chiles appointed her to the 2nd District Court of Appeal, the first African-American woman appointed to such a Florida court. In 1998 she was jointly appointed to the Florida Supreme Court by Govs. Chiles and Jeb Bush.
EducationLewis graduated from Florida Southern College and received his law degree from the University of Miami.Pariente graduated from Boston University and received her law degree from George Washington University.Quince graduated from Howard University and received her law degree from the Catholic University of America
Why should you be retained?Came from humble beginnings, but used scholarships to do well in college and law school and embark on a legal career. Has handled a wide variety of legal cases as well as many appeals. Also provided legal services to the disabled. Has worked to provide more openness in the court system."I have worked my entire legal and judicial career to ensure equal access to justice for all Floridians, without regard to political party, special interests." Graduated fifth in her class in law school, received high marks as an attorney and jurist. Has gone through the merit selection process twice, has spent 18 years as a jurist and more than 14 as an assistant attorney general. "Every day of my career I have attempted to be fair and impartial. That's what is required of a judge. And that's what the public should look to."
AssetsHouse, office space from previous law practice, land, retirement accounts, savings.Two houses and a vacation home; investments Two homes; retirement, savings
LiabilitiesLoanNoneMortgages; credit card
IncomeSalary as Supreme Court justiceSalary as Supreme Court justice; dividendsSalary as Supreme Court justice
PersonalMarried; two childrenMarried to 4th District Court of Appeal Judge Frederick A. Hazouri; three childrenMarried; two grown daughters
Websitevoteyesjusticelewis.comvoteyesjusticepariente.comvoteyesjusticequince.com
EmailThrough the websiteThrough the websiteThrough the website

About the job: Florida Supreme Court justices rule on appeals from lower courts, death penalty cases, the validity of state statutes, constitutional issues and other matters. Justices are selected by the governor from a group of attorneys recommended by the Judicial Nominating Commission. They serve six-year terms and are paid $157,976 a year.

Florida Supreme Court retention: R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy A. Quince

Florida voters do not elect the seven justices who serve on the Florida Supreme Court. When an opening occurs, the governor selects a new justice from a list of suggested nominees. And later, Floridians get to vote, yes or no, on whether those justices should stay on the court. That's why the names of three justices will be on this November's ballot, statewide. This year the normally uncontroversial Supreme Court retention vote has prompted far more debate than normal. One group opposes the justices because it disagrees with a decision the court made to throw out a proposed constitutional amendment concerning health care reform, which the court found improperly worded. The state Republican Party joined the opposition, complaining about a nine-year-old decision (later overturned) to grant a new trial in a death penalty case. But 23 former Florida Bar presidents have signed a statement supporting the three justices. Many in the legal establishment say justices should only be voted off the court if they have done something improper, not just because of a few unpopular rulings. For their part, Democrats say the attack against the justices is really just an attempt to give Republican Gov. Rick Scott the chance to stack the court with three new appointees.

Florida Supreme Court retention: R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy A. Quince 10/17/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 3:10pm]
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