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Sunday, December 11, 2016

The new stealth campaign against three Florida Supreme Court justices is being backed by those meddling right-wing billionaires from Wichita, Charles and David Koch.

They couldn’t care less about Florida, but they love to throw their money around.

Last week they uncorked the first in a series of commercials from their Political Action Committee, Americans for Prosperity. The targets are Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince. They were three of the five-vote majority that in 2010 knocked down a half-baked amendment slapped together by Florida lawmakers seeking to nullify the federal Affordable Health Care Act.

The Florida Supreme Court upheld lower-court decisions in finding that the proposed amendment contained “misleading and ambiguous language,” the hallmark of practically everything produced by this Legislature. Stoned chimpanzees have a keener grasp of Constitutional law.

Conservative groups have gone after local justices before. In Iowa, a place which has nothing but vowels in common with Florida, three state justices were fired by voters after being vilified for ruling against a ban on gay marriage.

On the November ballot, Lewis, Pariente and Quince are up for merit retention, meaning voters can choose to retain them or not. This simple system was put in place to keep the state’s high court above the sleaze of political races. The mission of the Kochs, hiding as always behind their super PAC, is to get the three justices dumped at the polls so that Gov. Rick Scott can appoint replacements.

This is worth repeating: If the Kochs have their way, Rick Scott — yes, that Rick Scott — gets to pack the Supreme Court with his own handpicked crew.

Yikes is right.

The head of the Florida chapter of Americans for Prosperity is a person called Slade O’Brien, whose job is to keep a straight face while saying things like: “We’re not advocating for the election or defeat of any of the justices. What we’re attempting to do is call more attention to them advocating from the bench.” Meanwhile, the state GOP’s executive board is less coy. It voted to oppose the retention of Quince, Lewis and Pariente, branding them “too extreme.”

Well, let’s have a peek at these dangerous radicals: