Florida Gov Crist Criticized for Appointing Planned Parenthood-Backed Judge
by Steven Ertelt
March 11, 2009
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is coming under fire today for appointing a judge to the Florida Supreme Court supported by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion business. Several pro-life groups in the state had lobbied Crist for another potential appointee.
The resignation of the central Florida seat previously held by Justice Charles Wells created a vacancy on the high court. Both pro-life and pro-abortion groups were trying hard to bend Crist’s ear.
Last month, a panel that chooses finalists for the high court named four attorneys for the short list for the latest opening.
They include Sanford judge James E.C. Perry and Alan Lawson, currently on the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach.
A coalition of pro-life groups wanted Crist to pick Judge Lawson while abortion advocates, led by Planned Parenthood, wanted Perry or another potential nominee. Today, Crist went with Perry for the Florida Supreme Court.
Florida Family Policy Council president John Stemberger told LifeNews.com that Crist received an estimated 25-30,000 e-mails, faxes, phone calls and letters in support of Lawson from Florida residents.
The Governors decision today is both stunning and profoundly disappointing," he said. "He missed a real opportunity not only to appoint the most qualified candidate, but also to bring the court back into ideological balance."
"Instead, he made an appointment rooted in politics and one which will entrench the Florida High Court back into a 5-2 left leaning majority for at least the next decade," Stemberger added.
Though Crist received a large number of communications from residents supporting Lawson, Stemberger said Crist "was apparently completely unmoved by this unprecedented and historical show of support.
The appointment process had national political observers watching to see what Crist would do because it could have implications on his potential support for a Republican presidential nomination against President Barack Obama.
Crist may also consider running for the Senate seat pro-life Sen. Mel Martinez is vacating.
Florida Right to Life told LifeNews.com that it, too, was backing Lawson.
"This final appointment is absolutely critical to issues that Florida values voters and social conservatives are concerned about," Lynda Bell, the group’s president, said.
"We need judges who are not activists, but who respect and recognize their limited restrained role as an academic interpreter of law. We need judges who will strictly uphold the Constitution, and not legislate from the bench," Bell added.
Former Judge Wells is stepping down due to mandatory age retirement of the Florida Constitution.
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