Law Day Keynote Address: Toward a more perfect union with rule of law

Florida House Speaker-designate Paul Renner addresses the Jacksonville Bar Association.

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The theme for Law Day 2022 as adopted by the American Bar Association — “The Constitution in Times of Change: Toward a More Perfect Union” — was the topic for state Rep. Paul Renner, keynote speaker at the Jacksonville Bar Association’s Law Day luncheon May 4 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Jacksonville Riverfront.

Renner is speaker-designate of the state House of Representatives, counsel at the Nelson Mullins law firm in Orlando and a former partner at Milam, Howard, Nicandri and Gillam in Jacksonville.

Renner said that in the past several years, Florida’s Legislature and the judicial branch of government have established a more perfect union through a new level of partnership.

“It has never been better in my memory,” Renner said.

He cited the most recent legislative session, when lawmakers approved salary increases for state Supreme Court justices that now rank Florida’s top judges at No. 3 out of the 50 states in terms of compensation.

Salary increases approved for appellate judges put Florida’s District Court of Appeal bench at No. 8 among all states, and increases for circuit and county judges now rank the lower courts in the top half of the other 49 states, Renner said.

“All of us in public service realize you have to take a pay cut, but you have to be able to pay your bills,” Renner said.

The Legislature also approved creation of a new appellate court district and moving Jacksonville to the 5th District Court of Appeal, headquartered in Daytona Beach.

“We are committed to fund the judiciary adequately as a co-equal function of law,” Renner said of the bipartisan support for the judicial bills.

“The rule of law is more important than party affiliation. We go after what we know is right, no matter the mood of the day, and we affirm the rule of law.”