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Once more, with feeling: Make judges move out of the 'Taj Mahal'

Well? Have they done anything about it yet?

Have they made those appeals judges move out of the "Taj Mahal" that they built for themselves in Tallahassee?

Has the Florida Supreme Court ordered the high-living 1st District Court of Appeal to move out, and the building turned over to the state for other uses?

Has the Supreme Court ordered an investigation? Has it reprimanded the appeals judges who hijacked this $48 million? Has it lifted a finger to stop future judges from sleazy lobbying in the Legislature? Has it ordered the judges who pulled this off to resign, or else be removed?

Has the governor done anything at all? Or is he too busy running for the U.S. Senate?

Has the Legislature done anything? Has it called a session to shut down this monstrosity? Or are our legislators too busy running for re-election, or other office?

Do they figure that if enough time passes, they will get away with it?

One more time:

Make them move.

Make. Them. Move.

Kick the 1st District Court of Appeal out of the Taj Mahal. The court robbed the money for its new palace from the public. It snookered the taxpayers. It grabbed $48 million, and worse, it did it by last-minute trickery and sleaze and political connections in the Legislature, and even worse than that, it did it by driving the public further into debt with a sneaky law to borrow most of the money.

Make them move. Kick them out. The Florida Supreme Court has to do it. The governor has to do it. The Legislature has to do it.

The people of Florida should force them to do it.

The credibility of Florida's court system, starting with the Florida Supreme Court, is at stake. As for the credibility of the 1st District Court of Appeal — it is shot. Kerpoof.

Make them move.

I know a lot of trial judges, and several whom I've talked to are furious about this Tallahassee monster. Their own local budgets and staffs have been slashed. They are on the front line of helping people who should be helped, punishing people who should be punished, and settling disputes that Floridians bring to the courts.

Some of them are mad at me, too, for saying that no Florida court should get another dollar until the Taj Mahal is shut down. They ask: Why punish us? And I feel kind of bad about that, and think maybe it is an irresponsible thing to have said.

But not entirely bad.

Tell you what — when the circuit judges' association of Florida has the guts to pass a resolution criticizing the 1st District Court of Appeal, I'll take it back all the way.

As for the appeals courts …

For starters, four of the seven justices of the Florida Supreme Court are on the November ballot for their "merit retention" elections:

Chief Justice Charles T. Canady, Jorge Labarga, James E.C. Perry and Ricky L. Polston.

So far, "merit retention" has meant automatic re-election. No appeals judge or justice in Florida has ever been defeated.

And I would never advocate the defeat of a judge or justice because of a ruling on a case. Judicial independence and all that.

But — should they be defeated for this scandal? For presiding over a money-grabbing, clapper-clawed, inside-dealing good old boy system that robs the taxpayers, while the Supreme Court itself boo-hoos about needing money?

You bet. I would vote no on all of them unless they fix it.

If I lived in the 1st District up in North Florida, I would vote against every judge on that court. I might vote against the retention of every judge on my local 2nd District Court of Appeal, out of spite.

Make them move.

Only a few weeks are left before the election. The governor wants to be elected to the U.S. Senate. The members of the Legislature either want to be re-elected or elected to other offices. The judges want to be re-elected, too.

I would tell 'em all: Make the 1st District Court of Appeal move, or else no dice.

Once more, with feeling: Make judges move out of the 'Taj Mahal' 09/18/10 [Last modified: Saturday, September 18, 2010 8:10pm]
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