The Florida Supreme Court building in Tallahassee. Under a measure (HJR 1) approved by a House panel today, Sunshine States residents would vote on a 12-year term limit for all Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges. (Mark Goebel/Creative Commons)

Term Limits For Top Florida Judges Clears First Hurdle

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TALLAHASSEE — A push by House Speaker Richard Corcoran to limit how long top judges can remain on the bench is moving in the Florida House.

A divided House panel approved a measure (HJR 1) today that would ask the state’s voters to approve a 12-year term limit for all Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges. If passed by the Florida Legislature, it would go before voters in 2018.

Justices and appeals court judges currently must go before voters every six years for a merit retention vote. Supporters of the term limits proposal note that no judge has ever lost a merit retention vote.

But opponents say the amendment would undercut the independence of the judicial branch and argued it would lead to less people seeking to become judges.

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