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Florida high court rejects slots appeal

After just a week reviewing the case, the Florida Supreme Court issued its swift ruling today unanimously agreeing to reject the challenge to the amendment on slot machines. Slot machine opponents alleged that fraud occurred in the petition drive leading up to the slots amendment and it should be removed from the constitution. The court rejected jurisdiction and said the facts of the court should have been developed at the trial court level. See it here: Download level_playing_field_ruling.pdf

Writing for the court, Justice Barbara Pariente cited the answer brief of Attorney General Bill McCollum, saying it was a sound argument the court agreed with:

"The long-standing principle that an election cures irregularities in the process and thereby promotes finality and administrative efficiency is a weighty one; similarly, the ability of citizens to amend the state constitution through the initiative process without fraud is extremely important.

"This Court should avoid making rulings affecting the application of these principles until the specific allegations of fraud are adjudicated. A fully-developed record with a proven set of facts will allow this Court to carefully consider and balance the competing legal principles; that cannot properly be done based on speculative, unproven factual allegations."

During the arguments last week, the justices asked lawyers on both sides to address whether they should hear the case at all or return it to the lower court for trial.