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COLUMN

Happytown

The gurgle and pop of Democratic balls, the rattle and wheeze of a Disney challenge and the distant sound of justice dying in Florida

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The court’s defense of Amendments 5 and 6 last year is a sin that Republican legislators seem unlikely to forget, so it’s little question that Scott, House Speaker Dean Cannon and their loyal foot soldiers will make another go at it next year. Thus, on May 11, the League of Women Voters of Orange County invited 
U.S. District Court Judge Greg Presnell, Ninth Judicial Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon and Florida Bar Board of Governors attorney Mary Ann Morgan to look at not only what the proposal was, but also what it could still become. “It was a direct threat to the independence of the judiciary,” Morgan told the crowd. “I won’t say it’s gone, but at least it was postponed.”

Indeed, as Morgan pointed out, slipped into this year’s budget is $400,000 for the state’s Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability to conduct a study that “shall review … the workload of the Supreme Court, separated by civil and criminal cases, and whether it could be enhanced through a more effective structure.” (The budget sets aside another $400,000 for a study of “the potential benefits to Florida from destination resorts and horse 
racing.”)

Judge Presnell chose to let French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville speak through him to assess the threat: “By thus lessening the independence of the judiciary, they have attacked not only the judicial power, but the democratic republic itself,” said the possessed Presnell, who then relinquished the microphone and made a mental note to pick up a quill pen and pipe tobacco on the way home. Balls!

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