From the May 2001 Idaho Observer:

Florida legislators begin stripping state Bar of power

Lawmakers remove justice nomination authority from private attorney fraternity

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Lucy Morgan of the St. Petersburg Times reported April 18, 2001 that the legislature was in session and “infuriated” by how the Florida State Bar Association-led legal monopoly has been overturning laws it has been passing, has begun the process of stripping the Bar of power.

According to Morgan, “downstairs” Attorney for the Bar Steve Metz “compared his the Siege of Stalingrad,” as he attempted to have the House approve its annual budget.

“Upstairs, the Senate Judiciary Committee was stripping away most of the Bar's influence in selecting judges,” wrote Morgan.

Metz, who has been a legislative lobbyist for 26 years, said he has never faced so much “sniper fire.”

The Bar is, of course, opposed to any acts by the Senate or the House that would diminish the power of the private attorney fraternity. The Bar believes that to mess with the system that has been in place since 1949 is a threat to the very system of justice that has taken so long to build.

Senate President Tom Feeney is in support of changing the system. Morgan wrote that, “Feeney said he believes lawyers are treated differently from other professions who are subject to legislative review and licensing by a state agency. By being allowed to regulate themselves, the lawyers have 'an almost incestuous relationship with the bar' Feeney said.”

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