Today I come to the defense of the Florida Supreme Court. It is not easy for me to defend the Court because I have disagreed with a number of its decisions. And, I feel it has not been as dedicated to the rights of the wrongfully injured as I would have wanted. However, when it is labeled an Activist Court…well, that is a bridge too far.
I shudder to think of what justice would look like in Florida if it passed the test of the American Justice Partnership and not embarked on its supposedly “Activist” Journey.
The American Justice Partnership has completed a 29-page analysis of key decisions by the Florida Supreme Court. This report focuses on five indicators, or signposts, indicative of an activist court. If any of these indicators properly describe a court or its decisions, the court is, by definition, an activist one.
The presence of any of the five indicators is evidence that a Court is departing from the role envisioned for the judiciary by the founding fathers. Generally it is venturing more and more into the legislative arena, and is indeed making new law rather than interpreting the law as currently written. Unfortunately, the presence of these characteristics also allows the judiciary to be manipulated by litigants (or judges themselves) who prefer a certain policy or outcome that cannot be achieved through the legislative process.
A review of recent Florida Supreme Court decisions illustrates the presence of not just one or two of these indicators, but all of them … and repeatedly. By definition, the current Florida Supreme Court is an activist court, the majority of its justices, activist judges.