Judicial term limits filed in house


With House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, making the issue a priority, a proposed constitutional amendment was filed Wednesday in the House that would place term limits on Florida Supreme Court justices and appeals-court judges.

The proposal (HJR 1), filed by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, would prevent Supreme Court justices and appeals-court judges from going on the ballot for merit-retention votes if they have already served 12 years in their positions.

Currently, justices and appeals-court judges may go on the ballot every six years for merit-retention votes.

State law does not limit the number of times they can go before voters, though justices and appeals-court judges face a mandatory retirement age of 70. Sullivan's proposal will be considered during the legislative session that starts March 7.

If it is approved by the Legislature, it would go before voters in 2018. Sullivan filed the measure the same day that Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton, filed a somewhat-different proposal for judicial term limits.

Hutson's proposed constitutional amendment (SJR 482) would limit Supreme Court justices to two full six-year terms, while judges on the state's district courts of appeal would be limited to three full terms.

Also, lawyers would have to be at least 50 years old to be eligible to serve on the Supreme Court or on the district courts of appeal.