It's been nearly 9 months since Jennifer Carroll abruptly resigned her post as lieutenant governor.
Since that time there has been plenty of speculation about who Gov. Rick Scott would pick as a replacement and when he would do it.
Well, his hesitation to act has drawn a lawsuit:
From the Associated Press story:
"A Tallahassee lobbyist and political activist on Monday asked the Florida Supreme Court to force Scott to appoint a lieutenant governor within 30 days.
In her lawsuit Barbara DeVane contends that Scott is breaking a state law that requires him to appoint a lieutenant governor.
"I just think it's time he does his job," DeVane told The Associated Press. "It's been nine months. A woman could have conceived and delivered a baby in that time."
As noted in a previous post from last May:
The state constitution states that there "shall be a lieutenant governor."
It's a clause that has been in the state constitution since 1968. Between 1885 and that time the person next-in-line to become governor was the Senate President.
Charley Johns, whose name became synonymous with the "Johns Committee" or the legislative panel that investigated communists and gays in the state university system, was Senate President at the time that Gov. Dan McCarty died in office in September 1953. Johns served as governor until Jan. 1955. He was thwarted in his bid to serve out the remainder of McCarty's term when LeRoy Collins defeated him in the 1954 Democratic primary.
The constitution, however, is silent on what happens if there is a vacancy in the office of lieutenant governor. That's left to state law. FS. 14.055 merely states that "upon vacancy the governor shall appoint a successor who shall serve for the remainder of the term..."
The last time a lieutenant governor stepped down it was Frank Brogan leaving shortly after he and Jeb Bush were re-elected in 2002. Brogan sought the presidency of Florida Atlantic University just days after the swearing-in. By the start of March Toni Jennings had been sworn in as a successor.
The lawsuit says that by waiting so long to name a successor to Carroll that Scott has defied the intent of the Florida Legislature.
And it goes further by stating "there would be a constitutional crisis if the Governor were to become physically or mentally incapacitated or were impeached." That's because another section of law provides for the lieutenant governor to become "acting governor" when those things happen. The lawsuit contends there is no provision in law for what should happen if the LG position is vacant before there is an acting governor.