House Speaker: Split Florida Supreme Court Into Two

TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) — House Speaker Dean Cannon wants to split up Florida’s Supreme Court into separate panels, one each for criminal and civil appeals.

The measure, which would appear to require an amendment to the state constitution, will propose a five-member court for each type of case to replace the current seven-member Supreme Court.

Article V of the state constitution says specifically that “the supreme court shall consist of seven justices.” The constitution also spells out where those justices must come from.

The Winter Park Republican said it would quicken the resolution of civil cases because criminal appeals get priority.

Cannon has been critical of the Supreme Court for removing legislatively proposed state constitutional amendments from the ballot. He denied, though, that his proposal is aimed at packing the court with justices friendlier to the Republican-controlled Legislature.

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