Florida judges can no longer get CLE credit for general 'fairness and diversity' courses, state supreme court says

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Florida's Diversity Issues

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Florida judges can no longer take “fairness and diversity” courses to satisfy continuing education requirements, unless the classes relate to judicial professionalism, ethics opinions or the judicial conduct code, the Florida Supreme Court has decided.

The Florida Supreme Court made the change on its own motion, according to the Feb. 2 decision. The state supreme court said the old rule “was overbroad, because course content about ‘fairness and diversity’ might or might not pertain to judicial ethics.”

Law360 has the story.

Course content “on procedural fairness and nondiscrimination” will continue to qualify for ethics credit, the state supreme court said. The Florida Supreme Court noted parts of the judicial conduct code that require judges to be “patient, dignified and courteous” and to “perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice.”

Justice Jorge Labarga, dissented. He said the purpose of fairness-and-diversity course credit was to complement judicial canons and educate the judiciary on strategies to recognize and combat discrimination.

“This unilateral action potentially eliminates vital educational content from our state courts’ judicial education curriculum and does so in a manner inconsistent with this court’s yearslong commitment to fairness-and-diversity education,” Labarga wrote. “Moreover, it paves the way for a complete dismantling of all fairness-and-diversity initiatives in the state courts system.”

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Refusing to budge, top Florida court says ABA imposes CLE panel ‘quotas,’ state lawyers can’t get credit for participation”

ABAJournal.com: “ABA’s new CLE policy appears to comply with state ban on diversity ‘quotas,’ Florida Bar says”

ABA Journal: “Florida Supreme Court order on diversity in CLEs devalues the legal profession’s inclusion goals, experts say”

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