One of the key principles our forefathers established when they founded our government was to make sure the three branches of government were separate and independent from one another. The foreclosure crisis has exposed a major fault line that exists in our courts and that is the fact that the legislature controls the purse strings that control our courts. The legislature controls the day to day operating budget, the salaries and the pensions of our judges. Our courts and our judges are overwhelmed with the unprecedented explosion of cases; the Florida Legislature is responding to this conflict by reminding our courts that they do control the budgets and the very lifeblood of our courts.
What our legislature fails to grasp is that there is no quick judicial fix to the foreclosure crisis that the Wall Street criminals have created and pushing these cases through is only going to cause greater problems in the future….if nothing else fast food, assembly line justice diminishes the sanctity and independence of our courts.
We depend on our independent, thoughtful and elected circuit court judges to stand up to the unprecedented pressures they are facing and use this conflict to shore up the power and independence of our courts. Our judges should reject the pressure they are facing and tell our legislators that they will not be pressured by budgetary issues to do the bidding of the legislature. The story that recently appeared in the St. Petersburg Times illustrates an important component of this conflict and it should serve as a wake up call to our judges at both the trial and appellate court levels to the insidious effects of this purse string intrusion into our courtrooms.