Christopher V. Carlyle
The New Year is upon us, and it is hard to believe that the Bar year is half over. The latter half of 2015 was highlighted by the Section's participation in the Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges Annual Education Program held in Ponte Vedra Beach last September. Section members worked with many of the judges on the educational programs and attended other presentations from outstanding speakers such as Major General (Ret.) William K. Suter, former Clerk of the United States Supreme Court. The conference was well attended, was remarkably informative, and provided a unique opportunity to interact with virtually all of the appellate judges in the state. The Section has been asked to once again participate in the conference in 2017.
At the Section's Executive Council meeting held during the conference, the council considered a request to make a contribution to The Florida Bar Foundation. Former appellate judges Emerson R. Thompson, Jr. and William A. Van Nortwick, Jr., and current Third District Court of Appeal judge Edwin A. Scales, III, spoke on behalf of the Foundation and the important work it does. The Executive Council voted unanimously to make a $50,000 contribution, and I had the privilege of presenting a check at the Foundation's October meeting in Orlando. An article about the donation ran in The Florida Bar News, and I received many positive comments about the Section's support of providing greater access to justice in Florida.
As the Fall approached, I was contacted by numerous Section members concerning proposed legislation that would impose term limits on appellate judges and Supreme Court Justices. The comments were universally opposed to the idea, and I spoke before the House Civil Justice Subcommittee meeting in November where the house bill was considered. Although the Section had not taken an official position on the legislation at that time, I offered the Section's assistance and mentioned some areas that the House might consider when voting on the bill. After that meeting, the Executive Council voted unanimously to take an official position opposing any attempt to impose judicial term limits at any level of the Florida court system.
In December, I went to the Board of Governors meeting in Naples for two reasons. First, I attended the legislation committee meeting where the Section's request to take an official position on the term limit legislation was considered; second, I reported to the full Board about the Section's activities. Ultimately, the Section's request was stayed because the Bar itself took an official position opposing term limits. Given that, sections within the Bar are now free to lobby on behalf of that position, and I addressed the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of the Section in early February.
The New Year promises to be no less busy, and the Executive Council got the year off to a great start with our meeting in Orlando on January 21st. The Section is still working on how to responsibly address our reserves, and we are also contemplating a retreat, perhaps as early as this Fall. Our next Executive Council meeting will occur at The Florida Bar's Annual meeting in June in Orlando, and I appreciate all our membership does to make the Appellate Practice Section a leader within The Florida Bar. See you at the next meeting!
— Christopher V. Carlyle
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