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Fla. Supreme Court Rules Against Scott; Next Governor Will Appoint Justices

Florida Supreme Court exterior
Via Jacksonville Daily Record
The Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee.

The Florida Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the next governor --- not Gov. Rick Scott --- will have the authority to appoint three justices to the Supreme Court.

The decision ends a long-running dispute about the power to appoint replacements for justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince, who will leave the court in January because of a mandatory retirement age.

Scott will leave office in January but maintained he had the authority to appoint the replacements.

“The governor who is elected in the November 2018 general election has the sole authority to fill the vacancies that will be created by the mandatory retirement of Justices Barbara J. Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, and Peggy A. Quince, provided the justices do not leave prior to the expiration of their terms at midnight between January 7 and January 8, 2019, and provided that the governor takes office immediately upon the beginning of his term,” Monday’s order said.

The appointments could help shape the court for decades.