State Constitutions

35 Years of Retention Elections of Appellate Court Judges in Florida: Has the System Measured Up? - Event Audio/Video

Miami Lawyers Chapter
Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Scott Hawkins, R. Alexander Acosta, Jefferson P. Knight October 10, 2012

35 Years of Retention Elections of Appellate Court Judges in Florida: Has the System Measured Up? - Event Audio/VideoOn September 11, 2012, the Miami Lawyers Chapter hosted a debate on "35 Years of Retention Elections of Appellate Court Judges in Florida: Has the System Measured Up?"


  • Prof. Brian Fitzpatrick, Vanderbilt University School of Law
  • Mr. Scott G. Hawkins, President of The Florida Bar, 2011-2012
  • Moderator: Dean R. Alexander Acosta, Florida International University College of Law
  • Introduction: Mr. Jefferson P. Knight, The Knight Law Firm and President, Miami Lawyers Chapter

The Coral Gables Country Club
Coral Gables, FL

[Watch or listen now!]

A Survey of Empirical Evidence Concerning Judicial Elections

State Courts White Paper
Chris W. Bonneau March 14, 2012

A Survey of Empirical Evidence Concerning Judicial ElectionsIn this paper, Chris W. Bonneau evaluates the arguments made by opponents of judicial elections. Focusing primarily on state supreme court elections (since that is the level of court where most studies have been conducted), though also discussing intermediate appellate courts and trial courts where appropriate, he evaluates the arguments of judicial reform advocates in light of empirical evidence. This paper presents a synthesis of the existing literature in this area, integrating the disparate findings by scholars into a single publication. [Read now!]

ABA Weighs in on Judicial Selection

ABA Watch August 2012
August 03, 2012

ABA Weighs in on Judicial SelectionThe ABA has long supported “merit” selection in appointing state-court judges over elections or the federal model. Former American Bar Association President Alfred Carlton convened the Commission on the 21st Century Judiciary in 2003 to study state judicial systems. The Commission was created to “provide a framework and ABA policy that enable the Association to defuse the escalating partisan battle over American courts; to accommodate the principles of merit selection in a new model of judicial selection that minimizes the escalating politicization.” In its report to the ABA, the Commission described recommendations for states to improve their judicial-selection processes so as to avoid this “politicization.” The Commission’s recommendations, adopted by the ABA, state that the “preferred system of state court judicial selection is a commission-based appointive system.” The recommendations go on to describe a Missouri Plan-style appointment system where judges are appointed by the governor from among those on a list of candidates compiled by a commission. These judges would ideally be immune to removal from their positions save for cases of misconduct... [Read more!]

Address by Scott Walker - Event Audio/Video

2013 National Lawyers Convention
Scott Walker, Dean A. Reuter November 22, 2013

Scott WalkerGovernor Scott Walker of Wisconsin addressed attendees of the Federalist Society's 2013 National Lawyers Convention on Friday, November 15, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Governor Walker was introduced by Mr. Dean A. Reuter, Vice President & Director of Practice Groups for the Federalist Society. [Watch or listen now!]

Arkansas Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for Awarding Punitive Damages

State Court Docket Watch Spring 2012
William S.W. Chang May 08, 2012

Arkansas Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for Awarding Punitive DamagesOn December 8, 2011, the Supreme Court of Arkansas affirmed a jury’s award of approximately $5.98 million in compensatory damages and $42 million in punitive damages against a developer of genetically modified rice found to have negligently allowed the rice to contaminate the national rice supply. Specifically, the court held that (1) the statutory cap on punitive damages was unconstitutional under the state constitution, (2) the economic-loss doctrine did not bar the claims, (3) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting expert testimony on future damages, and (4) the developer failed to preserve its argument that the punitive damages were grossly excessive. [Read more!]