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Scott, Cabinet appeal to 11th Circuit in felon voting case

They had asked a federal judge to lift an April 26 injunction requiring them to come up with a way to reform the way it grants voting rights to felons.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (right) listens to Gov. Rick Scott (podium) speak to the media at the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office to discuss his plans to keep Florida's schools safe after the Feb. 14 Parkland mass shooting. Hillsborough School Superintendent Jeff Eakins is in back left of the photo. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Times]
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (right) listens to Gov. Rick Scott (podium) speak to the media at the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office to discuss his plans to keep Florida's schools safe after the Feb. 14 Parkland mass shooting. Hillsborough School Superintendent Jeff Eakins is in back left of the photo. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published Apr. 7, 2018|Updated Apr. 7, 2018

Gov. Rick Scott and the three members of the Cabinet are appealing an April 26 deadline to reform the state's clemency process for felons.

Their request to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was widely expected. On Wednesday, they asked U.S. District Judge Mark Walker to get rid of the April 26 deadline, which he quickly denied in a sharply-worded 6-page decision.

"Rather than comply with the requirements of the United States Constitution, defendants continue to insist they can do whatever they want with hundreds of thousands of Floridians' voting rights and absolutely zero standards," Walker wrote.

Walker ruled earlier this year that the state's method for restoring voting rights to felons was arbitrary and unconstitutional. He issued an injunction ordering Scott and the Cabinet to come up with a new system by April 26.

Scott and the Cabinet, made up of Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, make up the clemency board.

On Wednesday, they appealed Walker's ruling that the clemency process was unconstitutional, and they asked that the April 26 injunction be lifted while appeals courts hear their case.

On Friday, they appealed his denial to lift the injunction.

“The Attorney General’s Office requested that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issue a stay of Judge Walker’s ruling,” Scott spokesman John Tupps said in a statement Friday night. “Judge Walker haphazardly ordered elected officials to change decades of practice in a matter of weeks. This is completely reckless and does not give the victims of crimes the voice they deserve.”

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