Florida: plans for term limits for appellate courts clear subcommittee; retroactive provision stricken in committee

The Florida House Judiciary’s Civil Justice Subcommittee approved yesterday a plan to put term limits on the state’s appellate judges. HJR 197 was approved on an 8-5 vote after an amendment to specify that it would not apply retroactively to oust sitting judges and justices. Proponents argued that since the executive and legislature are term limited, the judiciary should be as well. There were also claims that term limits on judges would preserve liberty and that retention elections did not provide for accountability to the public. Several committee members cited to trial judges, who are elected in the state in nonpartisan races, as “accountable” and specified that they did not want term limits applied to trial court judges.

As previously noted, no other state imposes term limits on judges, aside from New Mexico Probate judges.

HJR 197 now goes to the full House Judiciary Committee.