Florida lawmakers should reject proposed term limits for appellate judges and justices. A bill currently in the Legislature would force justices on the Florida Supreme Court and judges on the state appellate courts to leave office after 12 years.
As a Florida legislator for 18 years, of which 16 of those years I was the lead on Justice, part of my responsibility was to improve and reform Florida’s justice system
Even then, term limits on the judiciary was at the forefront of heated debates. It was determined, rightly, that term limits were not the way to go. Throughout this process, my colleagues and I identified early on the importance of protecting the independence of our courts.
Maintaining the judiciary’s independence is essential in protecting the integrity of this third branch of government, which is often called upon to make serious and consequential decisions affecting the constitutional rights of the people. Term limits would narrow the field of qualified candidates, rather than build a qualified, diverse bench.
Victor Crist, Tampa