Pam bondi Archives - Page 6 of 63 - Florida Politics

State says appeals court can take up NRA ‘Jane Doe’ issue

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office has acknowledged that legal precedents would allow a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court to decide a dispute about whether the identity of a 19-year-old Alachua County woman should be kept secret in a challenge to a Florida law that raised the age to purchase rifles and other long guns.

But in a filing Friday at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Bondi’s office also raised the possibility of later taking the “jurisdiction” issue to the full appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court.

The issue stems from a ruling last month by U.S. District Judge Mark Walker that the woman, identified as “Jane Doe,” could not remain anonymous as a plaintiff in a National Rifle Association challenge to the gun law. The NRA then went to the Atlanta-based appeals court seeking to allow the woman to remain anonymous. The appeals court, on June 8 raised the question about whether it should consider the anonymity matter and said that if “it is determined that this court is without jurisdiction, this appeal will be dismissed.”

In a filing last Tuesday, NRA attorneys wrote that while the appeals court’s jurisdiction involves final orders of district courts, it also can extend to certain “collateral orders” and that the court can take up the anonymity issue.

Bondi’s office acknowledged in the Friday filing that the issue is “immediately appealable” to a three-judge panel.

“However, they (state officials) reserve the right to contend in future proceedings, before either the en banc (full) 11th Circuit or the Supreme Court of the United States, that such precedent should be overruled and that the order at issue here is not immediately appealable,” Bondi’s office said in the filing.

The NRA filed the underlying lawsuit March 9 after Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a sweeping school-safety measure that included new gun-related restrictions. The legislation was a response to the Feb. 14 shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 students and faculty members dead. In part, the law raised from 18 to 21 the minimum age to purchase rifles and other long guns.

In late April, the NRA filed a motion to add “Jane Doe” as a plaintiff to the lawsuit and asked Walker to allow the woman to remain anonymous due to fear that public exposure could result in “harassment, intimidation, and potentially even physical violence.” Bondi’s office objected to the anonymity request.

Pam Bondi confronted at Mr. Rogers movie

Protesters confronted Attorney General Pam Bondi at a showing of a documentary about children’s TV host Fred Rogers, and they questioned the Republican’s stands on immigration and health care.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Bondi received a police escort Friday when several members of Organize Florida confronted her as she left a Tampa theater after seeing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” about Mr. Rogers. The demonstrators questioned Florida joining a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act and Bondi’s general support of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

This is at least the third time a Republican official has been confronted at a public place in recent days over the president’s immigration policy that separated parents entering the country illegally at the Mexican border from their children. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders left restaurants in the Washington, D.C., area after facing friction there.

Bondi protester Maria Jose Chapa said was an impromptu demonstration after someone spotted the attorney general, who has a national following as a contributor on Fox News and as a friend of Trump. As Bondi and her companion left the theater surrounded by officers, the video shows Chapa followed her yelling.

“What would Mr. Rogers think about you and your legacy in Florida? Taking away health insurance from people with pre-existing conditions, Pam Bondi!” Chapa hollered. Another person shouted at Bondi, “You’re a horrible person!” Onlookers stared agape as the procession moved past.

Bondi told the paper in a phone interview Saturday that the demonstrators’ actions didn’t comport with the lessons taught by Mr. Rogers.

“We were in a movie about anti-bullying and practicing peace and love and tolerance and accepting of people for their differences,” Bondi said in an interview. “That’s what Mr. Rogers is all about. We all believe in free speech, but there’s a big difference there.”

When the Times asked Chapa if the documentary’s star would have handled the situation the same, she replied, “I’m not Mr. Rogers. I don’t have the poise or temperament of Mr. Rogers.”

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Material from The Associated Press was used in this post.

Court urged to reject state rights restoration process

With arguments at a federal appeals court little more than a month away, attorneys for nine felons filed a 72-page brief Thursday urging the judges to find that Florida’s system of restoring felons’ voting rights is unconstitutional.

The brief asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a ruling by U.S. District Judge Mark Walker that struck down the system.

Arguments are scheduled July 25 at the appeals court in Atlanta.

The restoration of felon rights has long been a controversial legal and political issue in Florida, and Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi changed the system after they took office in 2011 to effectively make restoration harder.

Scott, Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis serve as the state’s clemency board and make decisions about restoration.

Under the current process, felons must wait five or seven years after their sentences are complete to apply to have rights restored. After applications are filed, the process can take years to complete.

In the brief filed Thursday, attorneys for the felons said the case is primarily a First Amendment challenge to an “arbitrary process” for restoring the right to vote.

“Florida’s laws have long subjected felons to an arbitrary scheme in which government officials exercise limitless power to decide if and when individual felons may vote,” the brief said. “These laws violate the Constitution by arbitrarily licensing or allocating First Amendment-protected rights and leaving restoration applicants in limbo for years. Plaintiffs challenge the lack of any rules, standards, criteria, or reasonable time limits for this voting rights restoration scheme.”

But in a brief last month, attorneys for the state urged the appeals court to overturn Walker’s ruling.

The brief said case law gives the clemency board discretion in restoring rights.

“Florida’s 150-year-old system for offering executive clemency to convicted felons is not facially unconstitutional insofar as it gives the Executive Clemency Board discretion to make clemency decisions implicating restoration of voting rights without resort to specific standards,” the state brief said.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Ten candidates qualify for Cabinet races

With a noon Friday deadline to qualify for this year’s elections, 10 candidates for state Cabinet seats had qualified as of Thursday morning, according to the Florida Division of Elections website.

Republicans Ashley Moody and Frank White and Democrat Sean Shaw had qualified to run for Attorney General, while Democrat Ryan Torrens was expected to appear Thursday afternoon in Tallahassee to submit his paperwork. The candidates are seeking to succeed term-limited Attorney General Pam Bondi.

In the race to replace term-limited Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Republicans Matt Caldwell and Mike McCalister and Democrats Nikki Fried and David Walker had qualified as of Thursday morning.

Also, incumbent Republican Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis had qualified to defend his seat. Democrat Jeremy Ring and write-in candidate Richard Dembinsky had qualified to try to topple Patronis.

Aakash Patel

Pam Bondi endorses Aakash Patel for Hillsborough Commission

Tampa Republican Aakash Patel notched another significant endorsement for his Hillsborough County Commission campaign Tuesday, this time from Attorney General Pam Bondi.

“I am happy to offer my support and endorsement to Aakash Patel as he makes his initial run for Hillsborough County Commission,” Bondi said. “I have known Aakash since he returned to Tampa after graduating from Florida State University. I know he will put forth every effort to apply his conservative beliefs and principles in all that he does.”

Bondi, a Hillsborough native, is the latest in a long line of Tampa Bay-area electeds to endorse Patel. Prior endorsements include U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, former House Speaker Will Weatherford and Zephyrhills Rep. Danny Burgess.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to have the support and endorsement of Attorney General Pam Bondi. I believe the voters of Hillsborough County understand her leadership is so helpful in advancing conservative causes and public servants to carry those causes forward. I am very honored to have her support,” Patel said.

Patel, who runs business consulting firm Elevate, Inc., is running for the countywide District 7 commission seat currently held by retiring Commissioner Al Higginbotham. He had previously been a candidate for the District 1 seat held by Commissioner Sandy Murman, who was expected to resign her seat early and make her own run in District 7.

Patel had raised more than $450,000 for his District 1 campaign before switching over to the District 7 race. He is one of ten candidates vying for the open seat, though only Republican attorney Todd Marks also a former District 1 candidate — and Democrat Kimberly Overman have posted any substantive fundraising numbers.

Also running are Democrats Ray Chiaramonte, Charles Davis III, Mark Nash, Corey Reynolds and Sky White as well as Republican Cherie Denham and Green Party candidate Kim O’Connor.

The District 7 seat will be on the 2018 ballot alongside Districts 2, 4 and 5, all three of which feature an incumbent Republican running for re-election.

Fred Costello

Pam Bondi endorses Fred Costello for CD 6

Attorney General Pam Bondi issued a lengthy endorsement Monday for former state Rep. Fred Costello’s bid to replace U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in Florida’s 6th Congressional District.

“It is my pleasure to endorse Representative Fred Costello in the Republican primary for U.S. Congress. Representative Costello served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has been a long time supporter of veterans and law enforcement both locally as Mayor of Ormond Beach and while serving in Tallahassee as a State Representative,” Bondi said in a news release.

“Dr. Costello led the effort in the Florida House to pass legislation to adopt the Prescription Drug Management Program to give my office one of the tools we needed to put the pill mills out of business and fight opioid abuse. His effort helped us save lives.

“Fred is an outstanding example of a servant leader who answered the call to serve his community as a citizen legislator. He lives what he believes and has earned the respect of all who know him.

“We need more principled conservatives like Fred who support President [Donald] Trump and the #MAGA agenda to represent us in Washington. Because I know his heart, his values and his record of standing up for what he believes, I know Fred will well serve his district and all Americans with honor and distinction.”

Costello, who is a dentist and veteran of the Vietnam War, said he was “deeply honored” to receive Bondi’s endorsement.

“She is a fierce guardian of the public interest and deeply understands the critical public safety issues that impact the lives of our fellow Floridians. I join Attorney General Bondi in supporting President Trump’s mission to make America safe, secure, prosperous and great again,” he said.

Costello is one of three Republicans vying for the seat, which opened up due to DeSantis’ decision to run for Governor. He faces Fox News contributor Mike Waltz and businessman John Ward in the Republican primary, the latter of whom has gone to great lengths to paint himself as the most Trumpian candidate in the race.

Ward led the Republican field with $709,000 banked at the end of the first quarter of 2018, including $550,000 in candidate contributions, while Waltz was about $50K behind counting the $400,000 he’d pumped into his campaign. Costello was in a distant third with $15,720 banked at the end of the reporting period.

CD 6 is rated as a “likely Republican” district in University of Virginia political scientist Larry J. Sabato’s “Crystal Ball,” though Democrats Steven Sevigny, a Daytona Beach physician, and Nancy Soderberg, a former Ambassador to the United Nations, have raised well into the six figures.

CD 6 covers a stretch of Florida’s east coast, from southern Jacksonville to New Smyrna Beach.

Rick Scott rebuts charges that he’d favor removal of pre-existing conditions coverage

In a statement released by his U.S. Senate campaign, Republican Gov. Rick Scott insisted that he continues to support the requirement that health insurers not discriminate against people with pre-existing medical conditions.

The statement puts Scott at odds with the apparent strategy of President Donald Trump, whose Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated in recent court filings that the U.S. Department of Justice will not defend the pre-existing conditions coverage guaranteed under federal law through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

It also puts Scott at odds with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who added Florida to a list of states suing in that particular federal court case to get the Affordable Care Act, including the pre-existing conditions provisions, overturned.

Last week Scott also stated he supported non-discriminatory coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, but he declined to discuss the lawsuit.

Democrats have been seeking to tie Scott to Trump. The latest attempt being opposition to the pre-existing conditions law, one of the most popular provisions of ObamaCare. But on Monday Scott delivered a statement refuting that he would support efforts to eliminate the provision, charging that Democrats were doing so falsely.

“My position has not changed – I do not agree with efforts to remove pre-existing conditions,” Scott stated in a news release issued Monday by his campaign. “I’ve continued to say that it is important to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions and that every American, including those with pre-existing conditions, should have the ability to buy any kind of insurance they want. Obamacare is a disaster and costs way too much, but keeping pre-existing provisions should be a part of any healthcare reform. I disagree with efforts to dismantle protections for those with pre-existing conditions.”

Earlier this month, Sessions’ Department of Justice signaled that it would not defend the law’s pre-existing conditions provisions, though U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officials have said they consider pre-existing conditions to continue to be official federal policy.

Florida is among the 20 states that brought that lawsuit against Health and Human Services, and Florida continues to be a party seeking to terminate Obamacare through that suit.

Scott’s opponent in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, and all 11 Florida Democrats in Congress sent a letter to Scott last week urging him to withdraw Florida from the lawsuit, and to support pre-existing conditions.

“Having failed multiple times to rip health coverage away through Congress, the Trump Administration is now attempting to use the court system to take the guarantee of health coverage away from 7.8 million Floridians with pre-existing conditions. This is wrong,” The Democrats’ letter states.

Nelson is meeting Monday morning with constituents with pre-existing conditions to talk about the potential policy change.

Scott’s campaign noted that Florida was brought into the federal lawsuit by Bondi who independently has such authority to do so, and was not brought by Scott.

Scott’s campaign also maintains that his position on pre-existing conditions has not changed, that he has consistently supported keeping them in any health care reform. What Scott seeks, the campaign outlined, is: removing Obamacare’s “excessive mandates and taxes;” allowing insurance to be sold across state lines; preserving the provisions requiring pre-existing conditions and that young adults may on their parents’ plans; and allowing families to buy the healthcare they want.

“It looks like Bill Nelson and his Democratic party loyalists new favorite talking point is an attempt to call out Gov. Rick Scott for not taking a position on preexisting conditions, while ignoring clear and documented evidence to the contrary,” Scott’s campaign stated in a news release.

David Bergstein, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, argued that Scott’s long support for repeal of the Affordable Care Act and his support for last year’s Republican health care plan, which would have cut coverage for pre-existing conditions, bely his stated support for the provision.

“Rick Scott cannot escape his record just because it’s deeply unpopular with Florida voters,” Bergstein said in a written statement. “He spent years opposing protections for pre-existing conditions, and then in 2017 he bragged that he actually helped craft the GOP’s health care bill that would slash coverage for pre-existing conditions while giving himself a tax break.”

Pam Bondi endorses Mike Miller in CD 7 heading toward Republican primary

State Rep. Mike Miller has received the endorsement of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in his campaign for Congress in Florida’s 7th Congerssional District, providing a potentially potent voice to the district’s upcoming Republican primary.

“I am endorsing Mike Miller because I have served with him and know he will be an effective leader in Washington who will uphold the rule of law and keep fighting the battle against opioids,” Bondi stated in a news release issued by Miller’s campaign. “I am confident in Mike and know he will help President [Donald] Trump strengthen our borders, protect the tax cuts and fully eliminate Obamacare.”

Miller, of Winter Park, is battling with Sanford businessman Scott Sturgill and Vennia Francois for the August 28 Republican primary nomination. They all want a shot at Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park.

“I’ve worked with General Bondi for several years, particularly in trying to end the scourge of the opioid epidemic. General Bondi is a strong conservative that Floridians have come to respect and admire,” Miller stated in the release. “Knowing she recognizes our shared conservative principles and has confidence I will support the President’s agenda means a lot to me.”

CD 7 covers all of Seminole County and much of north and central Orange County, including downtown Orlando.

Ashey Moody

Jacksonville, Collier sheriffs latest to endorse Ashley Moody for AG

Ashley Moody is adding the endorsement of two more Florida sheriffs, now with 42 of 49 Republican sheriffs supporting the former Hillsborough County circuit judge as the state’s next Attorney General.

New endorsers are Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and Sheriff Mike Williams of Jacksonville, according to an announcement Thursday from Moody’s campaign.

“Judge Moody is the tough and honest Attorney General that Florida needs. As Sheriff, I understand the importance of prosecuting criminals and keeping them off our streets,” Rambosk said. “Judge Moody will do just that and that’s why I’m supporting her.”

Williams added: “I recognize and value the dedicated hard work required to keep our communities safe. We need an Attorney General that will help us do just that. I support Ashley Moody for Attorney General. She will be the partner that our law enforcement community needs.”

“As the only former prosecutor in this race vying to be the state’s top prosecutor, I understand firsthand the need for meaningful partnership with our sheriffs in order to aggressively fight crime and keep our residents and tourists safe,” Moody’s campaign said.

In addition to endorsements, Moody is also showing robust fundraising, with nearly $450,000 raised between her campaign and committee accounts last month. She took in $271,500 through her committee, Friends of Ashley Moody, with the balance raised via her campaign account — besting the other two Republicans in the race to replace Pam Bondi this November.

Bondi, term-limited from running again, has also endorsed Moody’s campaign.

Other Republicans in the race include Pensacola Rep. Frank White, who reported $97,000 in outside money last month; Jacksonville Rep. Jay Fant showed just $1,640.

As reported earlier by Florida Politics, White had emerged as a big self-funder in the race — adding another $1.25 million into his campaign last month. This seven-figure “investment” adds to his already immense self-funding effort, giving him an advantage in on-hand cash.

Group targets Allen Winsor judicial nomination

A national civil- and human-rights group called Wednesday for the U.S. Senate to reject the nomination of Florida appellate Judge Allen Winsor to a federal judgeship.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 organizations, sent a letter to senators that focused on Winsor’s past work involving issues such as voting rights, same-sex marriage, abortion rights and the death penalty.

“Mr. Winsor is a young, conservative ideologue who has attempted to restrict voting rights, LGBT equality, reproductive freedom, environmental protection, criminal defendants’ rights and gun safety,” the letter said. “He does not possess the neutrality and fair-mindedness necessary to serve in a lifetime position as a federal judge.”

President Donald Trump in April nominated Winsor, a judge on Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal, to serve as a judge in the federal Northern District of Florida. Winsor was appointed in February 2016 by Gov. Rick Scott to the 1st District Court of Appeal after a nearly three-year stint as state solicitor general in Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office.

The Tallahassee-based 1st District Court of Appeal hears cases from throughout North Florida, ranging from Jacksonville to Pensacola.

Here is a link to the letter.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

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