Justia Florida Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Election Law
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The Supreme Court approved for placement on the ballot an initiative petition to amend the Florida Constitution titled "All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet," holding that the Initiative complies with the single-subject requirement of Fla. Const. art. XI, 3 and that the ballot title and summary comply with the requirements of Fla. Stat. 101.161(1). Specifically, the Court held (1) the Initiative does not substantially alter or perform the functions of multiple branches of government and therefore complies with the single-subject requirement of article XI, section 3; and (2) the ballot title and summary comply with the requirements of section 101.161(1). View "Advisory Opinion to Attorney General Re All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor & Cabinet" on Justia Law

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In this advisory opinion, the Supreme Court approved for placement on the ballot a proposed amendment entitled "Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments," holding that the proposed amendment complies with the single-subject requirement of Fla. Const. art. XI, 3 and that the ballot title and summary comply with Fla. Stat. 101.161(1). The proposed amendment would amend sections 5 and 7 of article XI of the Florida Constitution. The Attorney General petitioned the Supreme Court for an opinion on whether the proposed amendment was valid. The Supreme approved the proposed amendment for placement on the ballot, determining (1) the proposed amendment meets the single-subject requirement; and (2) the ballot title and summary comply with section 101.161(1). View "Advisory Opinion to the Attorney General re Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments" on Justia Law

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In this advisory opinion, the Supreme Court approved a proposed amendment, which would amend article VI, section 2 of the Florida Constitution, for placement on the ballot, concluding that the proposed amendment complied with the single-subject requirement of article XI, section 3 of the Florida Constitution and that the ballot title and summary complied with Fla. Stat. 101.161(1). The initiative petition at issue here was titled "Citizen Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections." The Attorney General petitioned the Supreme Court for an advisory opinion regarding the validity of the initiative petition. The Supreme Court approved the proposed amendment, concluding that the proposed amendment meets the single-subject requirement and that the ballot title and summary meet the respective word-limitation requirements of section 101.161(1). View "Advisory Opinion to Attorney General re Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law
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The Supreme Court rendered this advisory opinion to address the issue of the validity of a citizen initiative petition circulated pursuant to Fla. Const. art. XI, 3, concluding that the proposed initiative should not be placed on the ballot. The initiative at issue was sponsored by Citizens for Energy Choices and titled "Right to Competitive Energy Market for Customers of Investor-Owned Utilities; Allowing Energy Choice." In opposing the initiative, the Attorney General argued that the ballot title and summary failed adequately to inform the voters of "the true meaning and ramifications of the proposed amendment." Specifically at issue was whether the ballot summary affirmatively misled voters to believe that the initiative grants a right to sell electricity. The Supreme Court concluded that the ballot summary was affirmatively misleading and thus did not comply with Fla. Stat. 101.161(1). View "Advisory Opinion to the Attorney General re Right to Competitive Energy Market for Customers of Investor-Owned Utilities; Allowing Energy Choice" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court approved a proposed amendment titled "Raising Florida's Minimum Wage" for placement on the ballot but refused to review a financial impact statement prepared by the Financial Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC), holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction to do so. The Attorney General of Florida petitioned the Supreme Court for an advisory opinion on the validity of a proposed citizen initiative amendment to the Florida Constitution requesting review of the compliance of the proposed amendment with constitutional and statutory requirements. The Attorney General further requested an opinion addressing the compliance of the corresponding financial impact statement with Fla. Stat. 100.371. The Supreme Court held (1) the initiative petition and proposed ballot title and summary for the proposed amendment met the legal requirements of Fla. Const. art. XI, 3 and Fla. Stat. 101.161(1); and (2) this Court does not have original jurisdiction to review financial impact statements. View "Advisory Opinion to the Attorney General Re Raising Florida's Minimum Wage" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted Respondents' joint motion to recall mandate, withdrew its opinion dated January 4, 2019, and substituted this opinion in its place, holding that the Fifth District Court of Appeal properly affirmed a trial court judgment invalidating an Orange County ordinance because home-rule counties may not enact ordinances on subjects preempted to the State and inconsistent with general law. In 2014, the Orange County Board of Commissioners enacted an ordinance proposing an amendment to the Orange County Charter and provided for a ballot question be presented for approval regarding a charter amendment providing for term limits and non-partisan elections for county constitutional officers. The ballot question appeared on the November 4, 2014 ballot and was approved by the majority of Orange County voters. After the underlying county ordinance and ballot title and summary were challenged, the trial court upheld the portion of the charter amendment providing for term limits but struck down that portion providing for nonpartisan elections, concluding that Orange County was prohibited from regulating nonpartisan elections for county constitutional officers because that subject matter was preempted to the Legislature. The Fifth District affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Florida Election Code expressly preempted the Orange County ordinance. View "Orange County v. Singh" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court invalidating and enjoining the Constitutional Revision Commission’s Revision 1, designated as Amendment 6 and entitled “Rights of Crime Victims; Judges,” from placement on the ballot, holding that it was not clearly and conclusively demonstrated that the ballot title and summary were misleading and did not reasonably inform voters of the chief purpose of Amendment 6. The circuit court struck Amendment 6 from the ballot, finding that the ballot summary and title were misleading. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s injunction, holding that read together, the title and summary reasonably informed voters of the chief purpose and effect of the proposed amendment, namely that it would create victims’ rights, would require de novo review of agency interpretations of statutes and rules, would raise judges’ and justices’ mandatory retirement age, and would no longer allow completion of a judicial term if one-half of the term had already been served by retirement age. View "Department of State v. Hollander" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law
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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the circuit court in granting a petition for writ of quo warranto and ordering that ballot titles and summaries of three proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution be stricken from the November 2018 general election ballot, holding that the petition was improperly granted. The amendments at issue were Amendments 7, 9, and 11. In reversing the decision of the circuit court and ordering that the amendments appear on the ballot for the November 2018 general election, the Supreme Court held that the circuit court (1) abused its discretion in granting the petition because the standard for obtaining quo warranty relief was not satisfied; and (2) incorrectly found any deficiency in the proposals or ballot summaries on the merits. View "Detzner v. Anstead" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of the League of Women Voters and enjoining Kenneth Detzner, Secretary of the Florida Department of State, from placing Revision 8 on the ballot for the November 2018 general election, holding that the ballot language was defective. The revision at issue sought to revise Article IX, Section 4(b) of the Florida Constitution and allow the power to authorize new charter schools to be assigned to any of a variety of potential public or private entities, rather than district school boards. The circuit court concluded that both the ballot text and summary failed to inform voters of the chief purpose and effect of the proposal and that the ballot summary was affirmatively misleading. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ballot summary failed to inform voters of the revision’s true meaning and ramifications, and therefore, the ballot language was clearly and conclusively defective. View "Detzner v. League of Women Voters of Florida" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court holding that the ballot title and summary of a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution (Amendment 13) were clearly and conclusively defective, vacated the injunction forbidding Amendment 13 from appearing on the November 2018 general election ballot, and ordered that Amendment 13 appear on the ballot for the November 2018 general election ballot. Specifically, the Court held (1) Amendment 13’s ballot language is not clearly and conclusively defective for failing to inform voters of Amendment’s fundamental value provision; (2) the ballot language does not misstate the effect of Amendment 13; and (3) the ballot language does not mislead voters with respect to Amendment 13’s scope. View "Department of State v. Florida Greyhound Ass’n" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law