Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What is Judicial Merit Retention?

Among the many important decisions Florida voters will face in November will be a vote on Judicial Merit Retention. Justices and appellate court judges appear on Florida ballots after 6-year terms. Voters are tasked with the decision of whether or not to retain these judges and Justices. This year, there will be three Supreme Court Justices and 15 appellate court judges on Florida's ballots for merit retention vote. However, there are no appellate judges on the ballot for the 5th District Court of Appeals, which is the district where Citrus and Marion counties are located.

Many voters do not know any of the Justices and judges listed on the ballots. We encourage you to get informed on the candidates and their qualifications, and to understand the process of judicial merit retention. You can find more information on the Florida Bar's website, The Vote's in Your Court, or by watching this short video with an introduction from former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The video is less than ten minutes long and is full of information about how the merit retention system works and how you can make an informed decision in November.

While most citizens don't often consider how our judges and Justices come to be in office, and most don't have regular interactions with them, it is important for every Florida citizen to understand the process involved in electing those individuals tasked with safeguarding justice for our people.