Florida: House member wants legislature to have power to override “activist” court decisions by 2/3rds vote; several other states considered similar moves

A plan to allow the Florida legislature to override any state court decisions that strike a “legislative act” as unconstitutional has been prefiled for the 2017 session.

HJR 121 provides

Any law, resolution, or other legislative act declared void by the supreme court, district court of appeal, circuit court, or county court of this state may be deemed active and operational, notwithstanding the court’s ruling, if agreed to by the legislature pursuant to a resolution adopted by a two-thirds vote of each house within five years after the date that the ruling becomes final. Such resolution is exempt from section 8 of this article and shall take effect immediately upon passage.

Section 8 refers to the governor’s power to sign or veto bills, thus the governor would have no role in the legislative override process.

The proponent has posted on own website that the rationale for the proposal, and a similar one urging Congress to enact a federal 2/3rds override plan, is to “curtail the tendency of activist judges to manipulate the law to suit their political views and agendas.”

This isn’t the first such proposal introduced in recent years, but it broader than most which usually only target only the state’s supreme court such as Montana SB 334 of 2009, New Jersey ACR 118 and the companion SCR 63 both of 2008, and Wyoming’s HJR 7 of 2016.

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