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    Governor Scott is right. Pariente should recuse herself.


    With the rise of the “Indivisible” movement and their success earlier this month (they did not even wait to be sworn in before promising large spending increases and a progressive social agenda in the places they won), it’s important to understand how they operate: the radical left thrives on chaos, and by sowing seeds of distrust in our constitution and institutions. They never let a good crisis go to waste before proposing big government solutions to the problems big government created.

    This is what makes the looming showdown between Governor Scott and Justice Pariente so important. Progressives would love nothing more than the chaos of a constitutional crisis, and Pariente seems hell-bent on making that happen. Here’s the story:

    Florida law requires judges who reach the age of 70 retire at the end of their term. Three Justices on Florida’s Supreme Court (Pariente, Quince and Lewis) will be forced to retire on January 8, 2019, which also happens to be Rick Scott’s last day in office. Rick Scott believes that he will be able to appoint their replacements. The Democrats believe that Rick Scott’s successor (who they hope will be Democrat) should make the appointments.

    What would happen if the Democrats won the Governor’s mansion, and both Rick Scott and a new Democrat Governor appointed three Justices? Who would be seated? Who would rule on the resulting legal challenges? It would be the very type of constitutional crisis progressives crave to undermine confidence in the institution of the Supreme Court.

    The League of Women voters filed a lawsuit to settle the matter. Here’s the problem: one of the Justices who will rule on who gets make the appointments is none other than Justice Pariente, who in 2012 was brazenly critical of a sitting governor, campaigned to get re-elected on the premise that Rick Scott should not be allowed to replace her successor. Anybody wonder how she will rule on this case?

    I was running a statewide campaign to educate voters on these Justices at the time, and was critical of her obvious partiality (read here). Justice Pariente has shown remarkable persistence in her longstanding goal of preventing Rick Scott from appointing her successor, and will apparently continue this fight until she retires. She has already made up her mind before this case ever reaches her desk and like a good activist judge will use this case to push her political agenda, regardless of the law and facts of the case.

    If Pariente does not recuse herself, progressives will get what they want. If Pariente makes a mockery of the court by issuing a pre-determined ruling, it would do as much damage to public confidence in the court as the January 2019 showdown the case is trying to avert.

    Please thank Governor Scott for doing the right thing by demanding Pariente be recused. And let’s deny progressives what they want by fighting Indivisible at the ballot box so that we win our state and local races. That might be the only way we can make this issue go away.

    Jesse Phillips
    Seminole GOP State Committeeman