Florida Supreme Court
Case No. SC23-114
February 2023

In Re: Amendments to Florida Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.320

Did Not Participate

Case Details


In a 5-1 decision, the Court ruled to remove language specifying judges can receive continuing education credit for courses focused on "fairness and diversity". The ruling reads:

"The amendment deletes existing language saying that: 'Approved courses in fairness and diversity also can be used to fulfill the judicial ethics requirement.'"

The Court took up this issue on its own, there was no request from an outside party.

While deleting the wording about fairness and diversity courses, the majority added new language to the rule that a judge can receive credit for “portions of approved courses which pertain to judicial professionalism, opinions of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, and the Code of Judicial Conduct.”

The majority opinion addressed Justice Labarga's dissent. They believe it is unfair because they are still allowing for ethical courses, where this type of content may be touched upon. They feel the term "fairness and diversity" is too "overbroad" and may included courses that do not have a strong connection to judicial ethics. Approved courses must now be related to judicial professionalism, ethics opinions or the judicial conduct code.

In the ruling, the majority also clarify approval for courses and direct that the Office of Court Education monitor compliance with the rule.

Dissent: Justice Labarga

"... this unilateral action potentially eliminates vital educational content from our state courts’ judicial education curriculum ... it paves the way for a complete dismantling of all fairness and diversity initiatives in the State Courts System."

Labarga is concerned that this ruling has the potential to eliminate fairness and diversity training from the curriculum at the state courts’ judicial education curriculum.

He also notes that it contradicts previous efforts by this same Court to commit to fairness and diversity education. A year and a half earlier, the Florida Supreme Court determined that one of the Florida Court Education Council's role was to educate judges to "treat every litigant and lawyer in an unbiased and respectful manner, to never stereotype any individuals who come before Florida’s courts, and to administer equal justice..."

Labarga states that the rules in the Code of Judicial Conduct prohibit bias and prejudice generally, but specifying fairness and diversity was important because discrimination is a complex issue and to make sure judges learn "strategies for recognizing and combatting discrimination." He feels the removal of this language is "unwarranted, untimely, and ill-advised."

No Vote: Justice Francis

Justice Francis did not vote. She joined the Court in May, too late to participate.

Read the full ruling


Florida judges are required to take 30 hours of approved continuing eduction courses every 3 years.

Related Articles

Article: Florida judges can no longer get CLE credit for general 'fairness and diversity' courses, state supreme court says (ABA Journal, 2023)

Article: Justices strip ‘fairness and diversity’ from Florida’s judicial education programs (Florida Phoenix, 2023)

Note: Some resources, like the Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today, have a limited number of free articles before putting up a paywall.

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