Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A touch o' the ol' quo warranto....


There is a continuing saga over gaming and, as previously posted here, the disputes have bled into the realm of animal law because greyhound track owners are firmly objecting to Governor Crist's deal with the Seminoles to expand gambling at Indian casinos.

As explained in a recent column by Howard Troxler at the St. Pete Times, things have become even more interesting for the legal nerds among us (that includes me) because the Florida House of Representatives recently filed a petition for a writ of quo warranto with the Florida Supreme Court challenging the Governor's authority to make the Seminole gambling deal. The Florida Supreme Court has entered an order listing the case as high profile and provided a link that allows the interested observer to peruse the many filings. In addition to the petition itself, other documents of interest include the Governor's Response, the Florida Senate's attempt to get in on the action, and an amicus brief filed by a dog track owner.

More importantly, this case involves my second favorite of all the extraordinary writs, the writ of quo warranto (habeas corpus, to the extent it still exists, would be my favorite). Quo warranto has medeival origins and is designed to make government officials justify or explain under what authority they have taken action. As an extraordinary writ, the petitioners are supposed to have no other legal remedies available, so it's unclear at this point whether the House should have explored other grounds for challenging the Governor before trying to jump straight to the Florida Supreme Court. Time will tell if this was the correct choice.

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