Florida judges no longer will need to learn how to at least try to ensure “fairness and diversity” while applying the law under a rule change that the Florida Supreme Court has adopted by a nearly unanimous vote.
Florida’s Code of Judicial Conduct still requires 30 hours of classes every three years about “judicial professionalism, opinions of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, and the Code of Judicial Conduct.”
However, the court has stripped language mandating education in “fairness and diversity” to count toward the requirement.
“Although we have deleted from rule 2.320(b)(2) the unilluminating and frequently contested term ‘fairness and diversity,’ course content on procedural fairness and nondiscrimination will continue to qualify for ethics credit,” the court said Thursday in an unsigned order.
“And a review of the relevant code provisions shows that civility and equal regard for the legal rights of every person are at the heart of judicial professionalism,” the court added.
Signing the order were Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz and justices Charles Canady, Ricky Polston, John Couriel, Jamie Grosshans, and Renatha Francis. All of them except for Canady and Polston were placed on the court by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The court acted on its own initiative, but the change is fully in harmony with efforts by DeSantis to strip the public schools, colleges, and universities, and also public and private workplaces, of instruction promoting racial and ethnic balance or fairness toward the LGBTQ community.
Justice Jorge Labarga, appointed by former Gov. Charlie Crist, protested the move.
“While I appreciate the majority’s observation that the existing rules should be sufficient to cover appropriate ethics courses on these topics, this unilateral action potentially eliminates vital educational content from our state courts’ judicial education curriculum and does so in a manner inconsistent with this court’s years-long commitment to fairness and diversity education,” Labarga wrote.
“Moreover, it paves the way for a complete dismantling of all fairness and diversity initiatives in the State Courts System. I strenuously dissent.”
He noted that in 2020 the court issued an administrative order targeting “bias that is based on race, gender, ethnicity, age, disability, financial status, or any characteristic that is without legal relevance” in the state courts’ operations. That same order called for “a curriculum for a virtual implicit bias judicial education program,” Labarga added.
A year later, the court ordered development of “curricula for judicial education programs on bias elimination,” Labarga continued.
“Now, inexplicably, and without prior input from relevant parties, a mere one-and-a-half years later, this court sees fit to eliminate an express consideration of fairness and diversity from the continuing judicial education curriculum,” he wrote.
“As stressed by the majority, the canons in the Code of Judicial Conduct do prohibit bias and prejudice in their various forms. However, the purpose of providing express consideration to fairness and diversity education has been to complement the canons, and in the hopes of addressing the extremely complex issue that is discrimination, to educate the judiciary on strategies for recognizing and combatting [sic.] discrimination. For these reasons, such a decision at this level of institutional gravity is, in my opinion, unwarranted, untimely, and ill-advised.
“I respectfully dissent.”
–Michael Moline, Florida Phoenix
Okay Republicans, you own this. You are turning our beautiful state into a white male (poorly educated) only need apply state. Women, I cannot believe you are tolerating this! These Republicans are not working for our state, they are working at civil, religious and racial war. Please explain to me, what are you thinking?
Deborah Coffey says
Fascists don’t explain these things and, they never work for the people. They work only for themselves and for their own power. How any of them sleep at night…I can’t explain. But, I know this: Ron DeSantis will NEVER be President of the United States. He’s begun to get the news coverage he deserves and even the Republicans I know are horrified. Only the MAGAts love him and, there aren’t enough of them to make him a nationwide winner.
Stavros Halkias says
hell yeah dude
People of color, please stay out of trouble, Desantis and his buddies have said no fairness. It is plan and clear, people of color will loose every case, Jim Crowe in the Deep South. The Republicans are getting ready to take all of our rights away. Banning some books by Black Authors, no gun permits, no fairness in courts, people of color look at what is going on. I’m sure the wrong people will get guns and commit murder like crazy. If a white man shoot a person of color for no reason we will not get a fair trial. As much as I dislike police they will get murdered also. Florida will become a bloodbath state soon, thank you Republicans. I forgot about not teaching Black history in school. People of color look at this government they are going to start killing us slowly, correction the Republicans have already started killing us slowly.
Robert Joseph Fortier says
I am a Republican and I am far from a racist. Please stop presenting misinformation, as people will be who they are, regardless of political affiliation.
All articles like this do is to separate people and also lead to hate…the thing you wish to eradicate.
Love and respect, kindness and helping out others in need…that is what really matters.
I realize this. will not get published, as this news outlet does exactly what it says others do…only allows those who they agree with to have their articles, comments, to be published. Talk about freedom and open minds.
Deborah Coffey says
No. What Atwp wrote was truth, backed up by FACTS. You are correct that “love and respect, kindness and heling out others in need…that is what really matters.” BUT, that is not what is happening in the Republican real world. And, you did get published because Democrats don’t discriminate. We are the Party of REAL freedom. Yours has become the Party of Lies and Hate. I can back that up with 50 facts if you need a list.
Another Republican Embarrassment says
Wow. I have no words for the state of this State let alone what Republicans are doing in other states.
On a similar note…People accused of Domestic Violence can own a gun because in the 1700s DV wasn’t a crime. How asinine. The 2nd amendment is the most misinterpreted of all the amendments.
All these people who say cool, or awesome…the only people that had any rights in the 1700s were cisgender white men – a soon-to-be minority group (and if it bothers you, think about why, it’s because minorities are treated different). So this is the last gasp of the white man. Not white woman. White man. I will say this…We are NOT going back to the 1700s. You want your civil war, you will get it and you will lose…again.
Another: Your comment is the reason why DeSantis, and Trump, are successful.
Most Americans don’t want this to continue, and don’t want a war. Most of us are of mixed races anyway. Yes, I agree that the creeps have crawled out from under the rocks, but they are the noisy minority. Don’t assume that all white men are the enemy. Again, most are not. Only the far right nationalists (I’m leaving poor, misunderstood Jesus out of this) want to go back to the 1700’s. The rest of us just want to get on with our lives, peacefully.
Jane Kranz says
This is such sad news! The beautiful state of Florida is going to hell in a hand basket. Voters need to give serious and I mean serious consideration to who they vote for.
We live in a world where all too frequently we see, read and hear of minorities being abused and murdered by police and vigilantes. While this continues, I really don’t see where it’s wrong to try to train all members of the legal system, including and especially judges, in fairness and diversity. Doesn’t EVERYONE want the courts to treat all of us fairly and be cognizant of diversity? I really have trouble finding fault with assuring judges are routinely getting some training on these issues.
Sadly, Florida has become a far-right state. It’s gotten where any views not in line with far right thinking are labeled WOKE and that’s a violation of the state law! Those who support this direction fail to understand that at some point THEY will be on the wrong side of an issue and then they will become the target.
Fortunately, history shows that the pendulum swings both ways and at some point Florida will move back towards a centrist position. I just hope few people get caught up in the legal pit we’ve fallen into.
This is sad to see happen. Florida could be so much better.
democrats are truly the party of crime and chaos
emotion over reason, agenda over logic, criminal over victim, abnormal over normal, illegals over citizens, evil over good, parasitic over productive, lies over truth,enemies over friends, the Democrat platform in a nut shell
Leslie: I’m not a Democrat, but I would advise you to change the channel.
Timothy Patrick Welch says
Fairness and diversity training vs fairness and nondiscrimination training…
Well its hard to compare without actual course content, but it looks like a difference between diversity and nondiscrimination.
nondiscrimination- all people are threated the same under the law = unbiased justice
diversity- consideration for the differences between people = biased justice
@Slouching towards fascism
Comes now the majority of the SCOF, by definition, criminals:
noun: crime; plural noun: crimes
an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law.
James Marra says
“Although we have deleted from rule 2.320(b)(2) the unilluminating and frequently contested term ‘fairness and diversity,’ course content on procedural fairness and nondiscrimination will continue to qualify for ethics credit,” the court said Thursday in an unsigned order.”
Question: Is “fairness and diversity” to be understood as a single “term” or two terms conjoined? The writer uses the singular, so the term is syntactically a conjunction, a second-order proposition comprised of two the two cognates “fair” and “diverse.” Is this term “fairness and diversity” unilluminating? Not at all, because to understand the term one must first understand its syntax and semantics. To claim that the term is “unilluminating” is to claim that the listener understands neither. But there is not qualification regarding which individuals don’t understand, so are we to infer that no one understands? If not, why bother with the court case? The fact that it is contested is trivial, as controversy always comes with political dialogue, otherwise there would be political dialogue, except trivial and unilluminating dialogue.
Thomas A Kaspar Jr says
Why not be colorblind and equal in 2023 . The DNC platform is just one big cash teat to nothing .