Tom Spencer on Merit Retention and Assaults on Judicial Independence.

Not since the days of George L. Metcalfe has the Florida Bar News -- the best paper no one has personally ever paid any money to read -- lit up its letters page with strongly worded complaints about the Bar's merit retention "education" program.

In walks our friend Tom Spencer, who sayeth thus:
I support the retention of the three justices of the Supreme Court of Florida, even though I also frequently disagree with their opinions. But I am astonished at the hypocrisy of our Bar leadership in spending our Bar fees for a statewide “education program” on retention, which is, in reality, political institutional pandering. This hypocrisy takes on even greater dimensions, when it is compared to the silence of our Bar leadership in the face of the vicious, unprecedented assault on the judicial independence of the Supreme Court of the United States.

The historic browbeating by President Obama and many members of his party, including the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is something every lawyer should protest. But not a sound can be heard from either our leadership or the many leaders of the ABA who are Florida Bar members.

Our involuntary Bar association is quick to spend our money when liberal judges are under attack — silent when conservative judges are being skewered by liberal politicians, lawyers, and operatives who want to fix an unprecedented case.

Every judge should be defended or no judge should be defended. We members should be howling angry at this hypocritical maneuvering on our dime. The money spent on voter “education” would be better spent supplementing our needy pro bono programs. 
I thought, particularly as a Constitutional law professor, that Obama knew better when he made that one, single remark about popular legislation etc.  And he promptly walked it back.

(Perhaps I missed the rest of the assault?)

But what about all the historic attacks by conservatives over the last five decades -- hail, the entire tenure of the Warren Court -- over "activist judges" and their evil social legislation rulings from the bench?

Ho hum, yesterday's news I guess.

I think I know how swlip feels about all this, but how about the rest of you?


  1. Metcalf is sooooooooooo gay!

  2. In a 50s sense of the word.

  3. Your comment proves the point. As long as there is voting for judges, the process is, and will be, political. Voters have a right to vote as they please.

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