Florida: appellate term limits pass House 76-38; plan to create a “Scalia rule” on FL governors banning them from appointing justices in last year in office fails 5-98

The Florida House yesterday passed 76-38 a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on the state’s appellate courts. HJR 197 needed at least 72 votes (60%) to clear the chamber. The plan calls for all future appellate judges to be limited to two terms for a total of 12 years.

During the floor debate a House member attempted to amend the bill to impose a “Scalia rule”: if a Florida Supreme Court justice died in office during a governor’s 4th year in office, the governor was banned from naming a replacement (Amendment 962737)

However, if a justice of the supreme court dies within one year before the term of the governor expires, that justice may not be replaced until the governor whose term commences after expiration of the term of the governor in office when the justice died appoints a successor justice.

The amendment was rejected on a 5-98 vote.

HJR 197 now goes to the Senate where its companion (SJR 322) has not yet moved or had a hearing.