Florida: House member wants a “detailed explanation” from the Supreme Court in every case taking longer than 180 days; similar 2014 Kansas law struck down as unconstitutional

A newly elected attorney-legislator to the Florida House wants the state’s top court to report why it is taking longer than 180 days to reach decisions in cases.

Under HB 301 as filed the Florida Supreme Court would be required submit annually a two-part report.

Part I would be a listing of all cases currently before the court as of September 30 for which a decision or disposition has not been rendered within 180 days. In addition to the list, the court would have to explain its delay to the legislature and governor for the delay in each case.

A detailed explanation of the court’s failure to render a decision or disposition within 180 days after oral argument was heard or after the date on which the case was submitted to the court panel for a decision without oral argument.

Additionally, the court would have to give a date on which it anticipates reaching a decision.

Part II would be a listing of all cases decided by the court in the prior year for which a decision or disposition took longer than 180 days. In addition to the list, the court would have to explain its delay to the legislature and governor for the delay in each case.

A similar law was enacted in Kansas in 2014 as a section 4 of HB 2446. That law set time limits of 120 days (trial courts) or 180 days (appellate court) for decisions. Section 4 of HB 2446 was struck down as an unconstitutional infringement on the separation of powers a year later (State v. Buser).

HB 301 has been filed but not yet directed into a committee.