Florida Supreme Court Ignores Will of the People, Re-Imposes Restrictions on Felony Voting

Herbert Dyer, Jr.
5 min readJan 28, 2020
Image Credit: https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=Voter+suppression+pictures&fr=yhs-mnet-001&hspart=mnet&hsimp=yhs-001&imgurl=http%3A%2F

In 2018, the voters of Florida approved Amendment 4 to the state constitution by a sixty-four percent majority. That Amendment restored the right to vote to almost all felons once they had served their time in prison, on parole and/or probation.

Again, sixty-four percent of Florida voters approved this measure. That amounted to over five million people.

But just this month, the Florida Supreme Court joined Florida’s far right Republican-dominated legislature and its reactionary Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in ignoring that plebiscite entirely. That’s right. The Supreme Court of Florida did not bother to “defy,” comment on or even notice the vote exercised by the people. To do so would have required them to at least acknowledge that such a vote had occurred. No. As you will see below, this court acted as though the people of Florida do not exist and simply ignored them altogether.

This High Court has declared that felons’ voting rights should not and will not be restored unless and until they have paid any and all money owed to the judicial system, including court costs, fees and fines and restitution to victims of their crimes.

With this ruling, the Florida Supreme Court has made it clear that the express will of the people is irrelevant, and amounts to nothing more than an irritating nuisance for those politicians and judges who really run and control the goings-on in the “Great State of Florida.”

On January 21, the Tampa Bay Times expressed its righteous indignation at the court’s decision thusly:

Never mind what 5.1 million voters intended when they voted for the amendment — the justices never considered them. In fact, the Court ignored its own precedent that called for considering the intent of the voters when considering constitutional questions and interpreting provisions to best reflect that intent.

The Times tried hard to understand and explain, even rationalize, the court’s position, though. It said that the Florida Supreme Court,

…adopts an unbending embrace of “textualism” and cites the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who argued the courts should rigidly adhere to…

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Herbert Dyer, Jr.

Freelancer since the earth first began cooling. My beat, justice: racial, social, political, economic and cultural. I’m on FB, Twitter, Link, hdyerjr@gmail.com.