Florida Governor Seeks Disqualification Of Justice Barbara Pariente (GW’73) For Comments Captured On “Hot Mike” [Updated]

parienteOne of our graduates on the judicial bench is in hot water this week. Justice Barbara Pariente (GW Class of 1973) is facing demands from Florida Gov. Rick Scott that she be disqualified in a case over judicial appointments due to a comment caught on a live microphone.  On November 1st, Pariente was caught pointing to a document listing members of the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission and saying “crazy.” Update: As predicted, the high court rejected the effort to disqualify Pariente over her remark.

220px-Rick_Scott_official_portraitThe motion for disqualification states cites this off-hand comment in the context of prior statements on the Court and during her campaign for reelection. The controversy comes as three justices — including Pariente — are required to leave the court at the end of their terms due to the mandatory retirement age.  The three justices — Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince — are all viewed as the core of the liberal wing of the Court.  Scott wants to appoint their successors before he leaves office on Jan. 8, 2019, but the League of Women Voters have challenged that assertion in a critical case before the Court.  The decision could be key since the liberals hold a slim majority on the 4-3 divided court.

After the arguments in the case, Pariente pointed to a piece of paper in a conversation with Chief Justice Jorge Labarga.  Labarga is heard reading the name “Panuccio” and Pariente could be heard saying the word “crazy.”  Labarga then says, “Izzy Reyes is on there. He’ll listen to me.” Pariente appeared to say, “Look whose pick they’re getting …” and turns to Quince and says “did you see who…”

The justices appear to be referring to a paper brought to the oral argument by Pariente that was passed around during the oral argument.  After Scott’s legal team demanded the paper through the public records law, they found that it was a list of the governor’s appointees to the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission as well as the dates when each commissioner’s term is set to expire.

I think it was extremely unwise for Pariente to bring such a paper to the argument which is immaterial to the legal issues in the case.  The names of new justices only raises the danger of bias in being considered in conjunction with the arguments.  That is the point of the filing which states that “disqualification is . . .  required because the actions and comments by Justice Pariente would place a reasonably prudent person in fear of not receiving a fair and impartial hearing.”

Scott also points out the fact that Pariente ran in 2012 by highlighting the danger of his appointing her successor.  She warned that, if she were not retained, voters “will give Gov. (Rick) Scott the right to make his appointments, which will result in partisan political appointments.”  The motion notes that the code of judicial conduct, which says that judges “shall not, while a proceeding is pending or impending in any court, make any public comment that might reasonably be expected to affect its outcome or impair its fairness or make any nonpublic comment that might substantially interfere with a fair trial or hearing.”

While Pariente’s conduct was problematic and frankly injudicious, I do not think that there is a strong case for disqualification.  It is not clear what Pariente is referencing as “crazy” — whether it is the specific nominee or some aspect of the situation.  She can view these nominees as subpar without impacting her decision on the law. Indeed, her view of the nominees should be immaterial.  Moreover, I have long been critical of elected judges who by necessity engage in politics.  This is the very reason why such campaigns raise endless ethical and political problems.  Pariente has long been a lightning rod for the right, which waged a determined campaign against her.  She responded to that campaign in seeking retention.

I think that Justice Pariente should acknowledge that it was unwise to bring the list to the oral argument and that any view of the individual nominees fell outside of the scope of the litigation.  However, the facts presented in the motion present a difficult case for mandatory disqualification in my view.


What do you think?

57 thoughts on “Florida Governor Seeks Disqualification Of Justice Barbara Pariente (GW’73) For Comments Captured On “Hot Mike” [Updated]”

  1. @Linda
    Thousands of doctors have already jumped the Big Pharma ship, with more joining ranks monthly. Here’s just one example among many thousands now linking dementia and heart disease (& hundreds of very harmful side effects) to franken-cause:


    If this is the first time you’ve heard about the evils of statins, blame goes to the stool pigeons in the mainstream media for conspiring to keep life-saving information from you, choosing instead to accept billions of dollars of advert money from Big Pharma, the hell with your health, your children’s and your extended family’s.

  2. @
    Those statistics are very interesting. If the piano-playing centenarian has any sores, they would only be on her fingers. Dismissing a healthy lifestyle means moving the old-age suffering envelope from your 90s to your 40s. Seriously, is that what you want, obesity, miserable existence, dementia, early death? Pneumonia is caused by dehydration, more common in winter when it’s dry, a totally preventable disease. In fact, since there are no genetic diseases, all are theoretically preventable during natural lifespan. Nature doesn’t provision wild animals with a healthcare system because it was never in the design for animals to eat agricultural products, never mind processed and frankenfood. The human race is devolving exponentially, having already reached the threshold where it’s now totally blind to recognize any devolution at all. Civilization will gradually fade away, if it doesn’t nuke itself, first.

    1. At this point, the factors that cause most dementias are unknown. Moving the “suffering envelope” up a decade and/or shortening it, is a worthy discussion. A nation’s resources consumed for decades of a person’s life when that person is bedfast and without any cognitive skills and then, applying the protocol to millions of people, is a discussion for the country.

      On a different subject, a disease of the brain called glaucoma continues to puzzle researchers. It is hereditary. A colleague in her 50’s was recently diagnosed. Her doctor told her that despite the treatments which will be applied, she will outlive her vision. Then, there are the unknown causes of wet and dry macular degeneration of the eyes which are also age related.

  3. Obongo on open mike to Dmitry Medvedev:

    “After my election I have more flexibility.”

    Obongo should have been imprisoned for treasonous “collusion” with Russia.

    1. As we saw in Nancy Pelosi’s responses on MTP to questions about her party’s defense of Conyers, Franken, and Clinton: IOIYAD.

  4. Look, we are constantly bombarded from toxins in the environment & food, not to mention lack of 90 vital nutrients including antioxidants, causing all kinds of harm, damage and incomplete repair, including cancer. However, a healthy immune system can easily deal with repair or damage — even disposing of cancerous cells. But if your intake of Roundup exceeds the threshold of your immune system, or if your immune system is sufficiently depressed to deal with the onslaught, you’re screwed. It accounts for why centenarians can smoke all their lives and never get cancer. Most cancer treatments, such as chemo and radiation, are aimed at killing cancer — and healthy cells, too. It’s a backward model, which is designed for no other purpose but to rape patients of huge amounts of money, not to mention killing most in the process. Treatment, even prevention, should be aimed at a healthy diet, lots of fresh air, even sunlight, and a lifestyle that supports maintenance of a healthy immune system — as well as avoiding toxins. After all, getting religious about lifestyle is what accounts for spontaneous remission.

    Most people aren’t going to change their lifestyle, explaining why we are now an obese nation. They just proceed as always, until one day they wake up and discover they have a huge cancer issue. If they can’t get totally free Obamacare, then they open a GoFundMe account, still expecting you and I to pay for their god-awful lifestyle. They even end up on network TV wearing their disease as a badge of honor, witlessly expecting our sympathy, their ignorance based on myths propagated by Big Pharma, Healthcare, whoring politicians, and even bag men like cancer.org.

    Cancer, like crap, happens. No matter how much you study crap, you’re not going to cure crapping.

    Cancer.org is not the solution to the problem! It is the problem!

    1. Healthy lifestyles enable people to live past the age of 90. Review the dementia statistics for people over 90.
      Nursing home care costs about $1000 every three days for them because while they are fortunate to have strong hearts and lungs as the result of healthy lifestyles, they can’t do even minimal daily activities like toileting, dressing themselves, knowing day from night, remembering how get into bed, use eating utensils, etc. Having watched the healthy grow old, lose all of their siblings, friends, some of their children, their savings after having lived frugally for a lifetime, their vision, mobility, etc. makes me want to take up smoking and to drink excessively.

      1. I feel the same way sometimes.

        You missed the story about the hundred and two year old woman playing the piano on fox.com this morning. Anyone interested in performing at such a high level at that age wouldn’t want to go without learning what her secret has been. Ancient texts suggest humans once lived for several hundred years. Of course, that was before agriculture, an artificial support system, came along and began to epigenetically devolve the human race. Hunting and gathering required exceptional intelligence, however, any idiot could water a plant and eat it. And by watering many plants, he could attract a female and father many little idiots.

        1. If you want to save the planet by wiping out most of humanity, institute hunting/gathering as the only lawful way for people to feed themselves. The majority will be wiped out within a year due to starvation, eating toxic plants/fungi, or killing each other for their stored foodstuffs.

        2. “Healthy lifestyle” propaganda omits the reality that it prolongs old age. Antibiotics prevent death from a relatively painless cause, pneumonia. Three of the leading causes of death in the elderly are related to heart, cancer and bed sores.
          Longevity predictions are interesting. For example, a person who lives to 93 has a life expectancy of 4 years but it doesn’t proportionately decline. In other words, the person who reaches 94 doesn’t have a 3 year life expectancy. The clock is reset with each year. At 115 years of age, the life expectancy is .82 years.

  5. All the liberals ranting on this thread avoid ALL the Insanity on Campus posts like the plaque..

    1. It’s always good to try to reduce, or “avoid”, “plaque”…, but I think you mean “plague”, Nick.

      1. Good ball bust. I dish it out and I can take it. I was @ the dentist today so plaque is on my mind!

  6. I wish I had unshakable faith that justices kept their personal opinions out of their legal rulings. One may not like the outcome of the ruling, but the law is the law.

    However, I feel that hard Left political bias has become the norm throughout many government agencies and even, unfortunately, the judicial system. This is how dictatorships rise. Apply the law unequally based on politics, harass dissenters with the full force of government, and even threaten their livelihood.

    I think that Justice Pariente’s comments, and her entire campaign platform, indicate likely bias, which is frightening when it exists on the bench. I also agree that her comments are not, however, actionable. She may very well be gossiping about appointees but be fully capable of rendering a fair, impartial, and legal decision. I would greatly respect her if she ruled impartially, and then sighed over the outcomes she did not like. However, I have become so jaded about the concerted efforts to make our country a One Party State that I doubt it.

    1. “What do you think?”
      Karen S’ opinion is mine. I might also add that there should be no conservative or liberal judges. A judge should be focused instead on constitutional issues. All else is bias.


        “…courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

        Alexander Hamilton –

        “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

    2. Haha. Karen talks about “dictatorship” as if that’s not something she voted for.

  7. Cancer is a function of diet and environment. Yoga, like pharmaceuticals, isn’t going to do much good if you’re eating Roundup or living near a toxic waste dump or Chernobyl.

    1. Keep regurgitating your progressive baloney, relying on the government for your salvation. The current science is that about 80% of all cancer is determined by one’s DNA @ conception.

        1. …though as vinegart accurately notes, “eating Roundup or living near a toxic waste dump or Chernobyl” is certainly not advisable.

      1. There’s no such thing as a genetic disease, at least so far no one has ever proven it. There’s only toxicity and malnutrition. Blaming disease on genetics is a failed medical model, which should have been replaced by epigenetics way back to the seventies. Big Pharma and Healthcare can’t make money on epigenetics, so they perpetuate the genetic myth. Healthcare today would be bankrupt with dwindling patients, if only diet and environment would be accepted as the true cause of disease. If you’re going to blame your parent’s DNA for your cancer, you might as well blame them for your ED, too.

    2. @vinegart

      “Cancer is a function of diet and environment.” -cancer, by vinegart

      “Cancer is a function of diet and environment”, in addition to genetics, “lifestyle”, and exercise.

      So add genetics, lifestyle and exercise to your list.

    3. You appear to be unfamiliar with BRCA1 and BRCA2, not to mention p53 (now called TP53), familial adenomatous polyposis, jackpot mutations, etc.

  8. “It is not clear what Pariente is referencing as ‘crazy’ — whether it is the specific nominee or some aspect of the situation.”

    Demand she answer that question, under oath. It’s possible she thinks the nominees are “crazy.” A reasonable independent person could conclude a reasonable jurist (Pariente) would do whatever is required to elevate her natural reason and self-preservation above the law, to prevent a “crazy” person from becoming a jurist. A reasonable conclusion is Pariente must be disqualified because she has proven her disposition for one outcome above the other. “Crazy” definition: She has to prove she did not mean #1, and did not reference the nominee, which she obviously did on both counts.

    informal adjective
    adjective: crazy; comparative adjective: crazier; superlative adjective: craziest
    1. mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way. “Stella went crazy and assaulted a visitor”

    mad, insane, out of one’s mind, deranged, demented, not in one’s right mind, crazed, lunatic, non compos mentis, unhinged, mad as a hatter, mad as a March hare; informal mental, nutty, nutty as a fruitcake, off one’s rocker, not right in the head, round/around the bend, raving mad, batty, bonkers, cuckoo, loopy, ditzy, loony, bananas, loco, with a screw loose, touched, gaga, not all there, out to lunch, crackers, nutso, out of one’s tree, wacko, gonzo; vulgar slang: batshit “he was acting like a crazy person”

    sane, extremely annoyed or angry. “the noise they made was driving me crazy” foolish. “it was crazy to hope that good might come out of this mess”

    stupid, foolish, idiotic, silly, absurd, ridiculous, ludicrous, preposterous, farcical, laughable, risible, nonsensical, imbecilic, harebrained, cockamamie, half-baked, impracticable, unworkable, ill-conceived, senseless; informal: cockeyed, daft, kooky “Andrea had a crazy idea”

    2. extremely enthusiastic. “I’m crazy about Cindy”

    passionate about, (very) keen on, enamored of, infatuated with, smitten with, devoted to; (very) enthusiastic about, fanatical about; informal: wild about, mad about, nuts about, hog-wild about, gone on: “he’s crazy about her”

    “She can view these nominees as subpar without impacting her decision on the law.” in my world (see definition above), “subpar” is not a synonym for “crazy,” and wondering why the author, a person much wiser than me (no sarcasm), would use such word, except to argue in favor of Pariente.

    “Indeed, her view of the nominees should be immaterial.” The key word is “should,” but in all reality it “is not.”

    “Moreover, I have long been critical of elected judges who by necessity engage in politics.” Truly, I wish the author would explain exactly when or how is it ever “necessary.” It’s not ever. What does this language really reveal about the author? Honestly, I have no idea.

    “I think that Justice Pariente should acknowledge that it was unwise to bring the list to the oral argument and that any view of the individual nominees fell outside of the scope of the litigation. However, the facts presented in the motion present a difficult case for mandatory disqualification in my view.” It’s nice to see that Turley believes disqualifying Pariente is possible under the law in this case. “Difficult” means the case may meet the legal threshold for disqualification, and that is comforting.

  9. Was her comment a “public statement”? Doesn’t sound like it. If it’s not a “public statement”, then the rule does not apply.

    1. Pariente made the statement, and the public discusses her statement. Unless they outlawed Progressive idiocy, no crime was committed in Pariente’s statement becoming public.

      Does your question reveal you actually did not know the statement is public, or was this another in your long line of failed legal arguments?

      Frankly, I’m surprised you did not blame this on Trump’s fatness and stupidity, and being a mass murdering Hitler.

      1. The statement was clearly NOT a public statement. It is the result of a “hot mic”. The Judge obviously didn’t know the mic was hot, and she thought she was speaking privately to another Judge. She didn’t make a speech calling anyone “crazy”. Without the paper she was referring to, no one could tell what she was talking about. This is just a ploy to try to stack the bench.

        And, Joseph: why are you attacking me? I never said Chump was a mass murderer, nor did I compare him to Hitler, although they do have certain megalomaniacal tendencies in common. Chump is fat and stupid, though, I’ll give you that. Hitler wasn’t fat, but he was crazy.

  10. An a lying thieving sack of **** like Scott is accusing who of what? Scott defrauded the taxpayers of $250mil, bought the governorship twice and took the 5th two dozen + times. This third world, right here in river city, my friends.

    1. Just to follow your progressive logic: Scott is X and has done Y, which = Pariente gets a legal pass? Right?

      1. No, that’s more of a Trumpian logic. That’s also more of a general logic used with all politicians. Kind of like Trump entering the Moore/Franken debate. Here’s Trump the quintessential sexual predator, actually passing an opinion on sexual abuse. Here’s Scott, the quintessential crook and disgustingly perverse person, passing an opinion/judgement on Pariente. It’s kind of like that. But, go on with your kneed jerk pulled conclusions.

    1. What does his shaved head have to do with anything? Is your brain “a bit shaved”?

  11. In this instance and, in its opposition to the dismantling of public schools (a goal of the Walton’s and tech titans), the Florida League of Women Voters shows us the fight against oligarchy.

    1. http://www.palmbeachpost.com/rf/image_large/Pub/p3/PalmBeachPost/2012/09/28/Images/photos.medleyphoto.2732953.jpg

      “Vulnerability is not a state Pariente visits often, especially public vulnerability about something as personal as breast cancer. She is one of Florida’s most influential women, a dynamo known for tackling problems straight-on.

      “She took on her cancer the same way: Through a double mastectomy and four months of chemotherapy. Through musings about her mortality. Through doffing her wig and boldly sitting – bald – on the state’s loftiest bench.

      “She wants to talk publicly about it, to send a clear and powerful message to women who get breast cancer:

      “”Yes, you may be fearful, but you will be able to come through it and not only survive, but thrive.”” -from the article posted in another comment upstream

      1. anonymous – if she was going to be brave she needed to doff her robe and blouse and show the world her proudly scarred chest.

        1. This is from the same article quoted by anonymous: “The 55-year-old jurist curls up on a purple sofa in her West Palm Beach home during a recent weekend away from the court in Tallahassee.
          She’s just finished a yoga class and is barefoot, with a toe-ring on.”

          I guess we’re supposed to think she’s the coolest 55 yo breast cancer survivor cuz she does yoga, wears a toe ring and has a purple sofa. Whatever, I’d think a ton more of her if she had quit her day job in 2004 and took up work helping women navigate the labyrinthine process of finding surgeons, plastic surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, therapists, etc. post-diagnosis. That’s where the need actually was, and is, 13 years later. Not in the rah-rah sessions.

          1. You and Paul — a couple of folks with all the answers.

            “She has three children, six grandchildren, a passel of lifelong friends, a 20-year love affair with her husband, Fred Hazouri, a judge on the Fourth District Court of Appeal.”

            “They had worked hard to blend their families, his two children and her son. Pariente had navigated the brave new world of female lawyers on her own – with no mentors or role models around. She had watched her father die a slow death.” -from the link upstream

            She was (is) a judge and a mother, and in Skeptic’s opinion, the best thing she could have done was quit her job. Right.

            1. “Effect of yoga on patients with cancer”



              This review of the literature demonstrates that, within the scientific community, there is growing interest in complementary modalities designed to improve quality of life. In spite of the methodologic limits of the studies presented, the results suggest an improvement in a range of symptoms of patients with cancer with the use of therapeutic yoga. It also appears that quality of life, either overall or certain aspects thereof, improved. The absence of side effects and the excellent cost-benefit ratio are nonnegligible aspects that are systematically reported. In their consideration of the whole patient, family physicians might find that yoga is a safe tool and an alternative to standard pharmacologic treatment, which is sometimes limited in its ability to relieve the symptoms caused by cancer.”

              1. The jurist is doing the right things, and setting a good example — but as a woman — with cancer — she’s supposed to give up her career, too.

                (Too many crazy, angry, self-righteous Americans — sitting in judgment — wanting/trying to control the lives of others.)

            2. anonymous, you may read a comment, but you aren’t actually comprehending what is written. What I object to is the article you cite making the justice out to be a superwoman for contemplating her own mortality because she faced cancer, as well as inanely trying to make her appear cool because she’s 55 and wears jewelry on her toes. Countless women face this same issue yearly, and they aren’t tooting their own horns via personal interest pieces in the local paper. The media is flooded with “Aren’t I brave for facing cancer?” stories by national celebrities and celebrity wanna-be’s of every stripe. I never once said Pariente is a bad woman, an immoral woman, or anything of the sort. I didn’t even comment on Turley’s complaint. Color me unimpressed because, like hundreds of thousands of other women of her generation, she got married, became a working mom, and then her kids grew up and procreated. And BTW, my comment never derided yoga as a health modality; that would have been counter-factual and beside the point. If you’re looking for a fan club, look elsewhere. Aside: The author of the piece you cite had to quit journalism because she was diagnosed with ALS; speaking from experience, that’s a real tragedy worthy of sympathy and compassion.

              1. @CCS:

                “…you may read a comment, but you aren’t actually comprehending what is written.”

                Don’t project your sh*t…

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