Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Court Packing

The Florida legislature is hatching a plan to re-make the State Supreme Court.

Among other things, the overhaul expands the number of Supreme Court justices from seven to 10 and divides the court into two, five-member divisions, one for criminal cases and one for civil.

The three justices with most seniority, all appointed by a Democratic governor, would go to the criminal side. Republican appointees would remain on the civil side, where legislative issues would be considered. Republican Gov. Rick Scott would fill the empty seats.

The “split court” concept has prompted charges from Democrats that the plan is more about stacking the court with people favorable to Republican causes than efficiency, which supporters say is the reason for the changes.

Even for Republicans with a super-majority in both Houses, this is a blatant abuse of the separation of powers. And in the unlikely event that the Democrats should ever take over the legislature and the governor’s mansion — although with the way this crowd is acting, hope springs eternal — the Republicans will be desperate undo this little feat of legerdemain.

(PS: It didn’t work for FDR, either.)