Judicial Merit Retention

Their names are on the ballots, but who are they and why do they need voter approval?

Voters are being asked to decide if they want to reappoint or reject two Florida Supreme Court Justices and six First District Court of Appeals judges.

Two justices on the Florida Supreme Court were appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush two years ago. This year, Justice Raoul Cantero and Kenneth Bell's names are on your ballot asking whether to retain each one.

Bobby Roberts is the head of the local Republican Party in Bay County and says, "The governor is going to appoint a judge that has tendencies to think like that person."

But it doesn’t always mean the governor gets his way. Just this year the Florida Supreme Court, which is made up of seven justices, overturned Gov. Jeb Bush's proposed Terri's Law to keep a feeding tube for a woman with severe brain damage.

Both Cantero and Bell were among those on the bench who struck down the law in a unanimous decision with the court.

Roberts says the best way to make up your mind on judicial merit retention is by doing research.

"But if you really want to find out about the judge, you're going to have to look at each individual case or the cases that matter to you.”

For more information about how each Justice of the Supreme Court and the District Court of Appeals voted on cases go to: www.flcourts.org and click on “Opinions and Rules.”