In one of his first public statements since he announced his candidacy last month, Democratic Attorney General candidate Ryan Torrens says he’s strongly opposed to Rick Scott’s attempt to replace three members of the Florida Supreme Court on his last day of office in 2019.
“In 2014, Florida voters had an opportunity to approve a constitutional amendment which would have permitted this practice and our voters rejected it,” Torrens said. “Governor Scott needs to respect the wishes of Florida voters and permit our new governor to appoint the replacement justices. After all, a newly-elected governor better reflects the will of the people rather than a governor elected four years ago.”
That constitutional amendment cited by Torrens not only failed to get the 60 percent support necessary for passage but lost outright by a 52 percent to 48 percent margin. However, Scott continues to say that after finishing his second term in January of 2019, he will name the the successors to the three justices who are scheduled to leave office on the same day as he does.
Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince are scheduled to retire because they have reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 on Jan. 8, 2019 — the same day a new Governor will be sworn in the replace Scott. They also make up a part of the Florida Supreme Court’s liberal majority.
Two voting rights groups – the Florida League of Women Voters and Common Cause – filed a petition last month requesting that the Florida Supreme Court Governor Scott from appointing the justices’ replacements.
“I encourage the Florida Supreme Court to affirm the will of the voters and to find that this appointment power rests with the newly-elected governor, not the outgoing governor,”said Torrens, who is also calling on Attorney General Pam Bondi to take a stand on Scott’s attempt to “pack our Supreme Court.”
“We should rise above partisan politics and respect the wishes of our voters,” the University of Tampa graduate says.
“When I am your attorney general, I will always fight for our people over entrenched special interests, even if that means standing up to our governor,” said Torrens.
The 32-year-old Odessa based attorney has just recently announced his candidacy attorney general, the first Democrat to do so.
Former Hillsborough County judge Ashley Moody and Jacksonville area state Representative Jay Fant have filed to run in the Republican race for AG.