The lawyer legislator: service and sacrifice.

Author:Johnson, Kelly Overstreet
Position:President's Page

While studying the statistics of lawyer legislators, I discovered an ironic date that marked a decline of attorneys in Florida's legislature: America's Bicentennial. Those numbers, which have enjoyed short increases, have never recovered to the numbers of pre-1975/76 years.

There is a belief that there are too many lawyers in Florida's Chambers when, in fact, there may be too few.

The most recent session included 32 of 120 House of Representatives attorney-members. In the Senate, there were nine attorneys out of 40 members. The total representation in both houses is 26 percent.

Throughout America's history, lawyers have been instrumental in the research and development of law. The convergent roles of the lawyer politician and the act of law-making are destined for natural success. Not only do we understand the history of established law, but we have daily experience of how the law works, and the effect of legislative change to laws.

As of late, the legislature has danced on the boundaries of the separation of powers. A recent bill proposed a constitutional amendment to give the Florida Legislature the authority to write all court procedural rules. Court rules are just that: court rules that are to be made by and presided over by the court, not the legislature. The independence of our judiciary, our constitution, and our civil liberties are sacred trusts that need to be protected from poor choices and ultimately the passage of bad laws.

I believe that people who serve as legislators want to help make our communities a better, safer place. However, the dignity of law should not suffer the...

To continue reading