You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Editorial: Vote ‘yes’ to retain state Supreme Court, 4th DCA judges

Palm Beach County voters will see three Florida Supreme Court justices and six 4th District Court of Appeal judges up for merit retention on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The Post recommends that all nine — Chief Justice Jorge Labarga, Justice Charles T. Canady and Justice Ricky Polston for the Supreme Court; Chief Judge Cory J. Ciklin, and Judges Dorian K. Damoorgian, Jonathan D. Gerber, Robert M. Gross, Spencer D. Levin and Melanie G. May on the 4th DCA — be retained.

Florida has had a long and successful policy of using merit retention elections as a democratic check on appellate court judges. The system allows voters to decide whether a sitting appellate judge should remain on the bench with a simple ballot question: “Shall Justice/Judge (name) of the _________ court be retained in office?” The system applies to all state judges on the courts of appeal, including the Florida Supreme Court.

The great advantage of merit retention, implemented — after a series of judicial scandals — in 1976 to make the Florida court system more professional, makes the high-level judiciary part of the democratic process. But by limiting the ballot question to issues of “merit,” the judges avoid the political pressures of testy, often negative partisan races which can destroy faith in the legitimacy and fairness of the court system.

Yes, merit retention has its critics. Some correctly point out that no Florida appellate judge or Supreme Court justice has been removed through retention elections. But the fact that voters are generally satisfied with the state judiciary should be seen as a vote for the quality of the judiciary, not a failure of the system.

A recent survey of members of the Florida Bar found that 8 of 10 bar members who had knowledge of the judges on the ballot — especially those who try cases before them — favored their retention.

The removal of a judge should not be done lightly, or easily. They are faced with many challenging cases that can call for rulings that may be polarizing or unpopular. The demands of public opinion and justice can often differ. Merit retention balances the need of the judiciary to be answerable to the people, with the need to have judges act on law instead of public opinion.

We recommend voting “yes” on your ballot to retain these appellate judges.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Opinion

Palm Beach Post editorial cartoon: Jan. 17
Palm Beach Post editorial cartoon: Jan. 17

Letters: GOP does not intend to replace ACA

Senator Marco Rubio voted “yea” on the bill that has been dubbed the “Repeal Resolution” by the GOP members of the Senate Budget Committee. This bill actually does nothing to repeal the Affordable Care Act. However, per the committee, the bill contains language that includes “reconciliation instructions to authorizing...
POINT OF VIEW Airbnb threatens Florida B&Bs, endangers consumers

The owners of many local bed and breakfast inns initially viewed Airbnb optimistically as an exciting new marketing platform. Unfortunately, hope quickly gave way to reality as licensed “mom-and-pop” businesses found themselves deluged with unlawful operators on Airbnb and similar sites, often operating in residential areas. This goes well...
Letters Time to disagree on election is over
Letters Time to disagree on election is over

The people have spoken. The results are in, people have expressed their free will and have chosen a new president. It is past the time to disagree. That time was on Nov. 8 at the polls. I find it abhorrent to see people using mob behavior to object to the result. All these malcontents had their right to select who they wanted to lead the country. MIKE...
Editorial: County IG deserves better than cold shoulder from cities
Editorial: County IG deserves better than cold shoulder from cities

When Elliot Cohen was West Palm Beach’s spokesman, who took him to task for holding a side job with a contractor that did business with the city and for using his position to solicit outside publicity work? The Palm Beach County Office of Inspector General, that’s who. And who judged that Palm Beach Gardens violated the law when it failed...
More Stories