As reported in a previous post, Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips -- wife of the term-limited ex-Mayor of Fort Lauderdale Jim Naugle -- overturned the county commission term limits that were passed in 2000 by 80 percent of voters. The decision was a victory for local politicians and power brokers led by local attorney Bill Scherer.
Shortly after the decision was announced, Broward County announced it would appeal the decision on behalf of the voters.
Prior to the decision Andrew Meyers, chief appellate counsel for Broward County, argued that the state constitution gives Broward broad authority through its home-rule charter to structure local government "as they see fit."
Broward County attorneys say that Judge Phillips decision was flawed because it relies on a Supreme Court case, Cook (2002), which dealt with constitutional officers, like the Sheriff, which are covered in a different section of the Florida Constitution. Broward's brief is due in late March.
If Judge Phillips decision is upheld in the 4th District Court of Appeals, Broward plans to petition for a Florida Supreme Court review. The Florida Supreme Court has never ruled on county commissioner term limits.
If the 4th District Court upholds, it would also provide a basis for politicians in Palm Beach County to challenge the voter-approved law, but not directly. The politicians would first have to decide to sue the voters.
(Pictured: Broward County interim county attorney and chief appellate counsel)