Future of high court sparks legislative battle

Florida Supreme Court
Posted at 4:08 AM, Mar 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-27 00:10:56-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The future of the Florida Supreme Court is sparking a legislative battle over who will get to pick new justices.

The Florida Senate on Wednesday gave tentative approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it clear that whoever wins the election for governor this fall will pick the next three justices.

Sixty percent of voters would have to approve the amendment for it take effect.

Three justices will be required to retire the same day a new governor takes office in 2019. They will be required to step down because they have reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, is the main sponsor of the amendment. He says he's trying to avoid a messy legal fight over who is responsible for appointing the replacements.