On Sunday, June 4, 2023, the Florida Bulldog reported that Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady is allegedly ignoring his conflict of interest in a high-profile abortion ban case.

Amid the Florida Supreme Court’s examination of a stringent abortion ban that was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis in the previous year, a conflict of interest has surfaced concerning Justice Charles Canady.

In April, shortly after the initial ban prohibiting abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy was implemented, the legislature and Governor DeSantis introduced an even more stringent ban. Notably, this new ban, co-sponsored by Justice Canady’s wife, state representative Jennifer Canady, poses a near-total prohibition on legal abortions in Florida by limiting them to the first six weeks of pregnancy.

The connection between Justice Canady’s role on the Florida Supreme Court and his wife’s involvement in sponsoring the more severe ban raises concerns about potential bias or compromised impartiality in the court’s decision-making process. Despite this conflict of interest with his legislator wife, Justice Canady has not disqualified himself from participating in the case by filing a recusal.

In an inquiry about his conflict of interest and why he has not stepped aside, court spokesman Paul Flemming. stated, “Justices are prohibited from discussing pending cases before the Supreme Court. Justice Canady is unable to speak to you,”

The Florida Bulldog writes that based on Justice Canady’s exercise of judgment, his decision not to recuse himself from the planned parenthood case, despite the conflict arising from his wife’s direct involvement, indicates a lack of concern for both public perception and the rules applicable to the judiciary in Florida.

Florida’s Code of Judicial Conduct consists of seven fundamental rules, known as canons. While these canons do not encompass every possible scenario of human behavior, they do emphasize the importance of judges upholding the integrity and independence of the judiciary. The code explicitly states that judges must avoid impropriety and any appearance of impropriety, while diligently and impartially performing their judicial duties.

However, the code does not specifically address situations where a judge’s spouse is a member of the legislature, proposes a bill that becomes law, and subsequently comes before the court for review. In such cases, common sense and ethical considerations become significant factors.

As of now, the seven-member court has not made a decision regarding the scheduling of oral arguments in the highly significant planned parenthood case, which commenced in August of the previous year. Justice Canady, who has previously held the position of chief justice on two occasions, along with the other justices, has received numerous legal briefs from both parties involved in the case. These briefs will be thoroughly reviewed by the court before a final ruling is issued.


Source: Florida Bulldog