412 So.2d 360 (Fla. 1982), 61,877, Florida Senate v. Graham

Docket Nº:61,877.
Citation:412 So.2d 360
Party Name:The FLORIDA SENATE, Petitioner, v. The Honorable D. Robert GRAHAM, Governor of the State of Florida, Respondent.
Case Date:April 06, 1982
Court:Supreme Court of Florida

Page 360

412 So.2d 360 (Fla. 1982)

The FLORIDA SENATE, Petitioner,


The Honorable D. Robert GRAHAM, Governor of the State of Florida, Respondent.

No. 61,877.

Supreme Court of Florida.

April 6, 1982

Thomas W. McAliley and James R. Hubbard of Beckham & McAliley, Miami, and Neal P. Rutledge, Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Betty J. Steffens, Gen. Counsel for Governor Graham, Tallahassee, for respondent.

Barry Richard of Roberts, Baggett, LaFace, Richard & Wiser, Tallahassee, for Fla. House of Representatives, interested party.


The Senate of the State of Florida has filed a petition for declaratory judgment, writ of mandamus or other extraordinary relief questioning the constitutional authority of Governor D. Robert Graham to limit to less than thirty days a special apportionment session called pursuant to article III, section 16(a), Florida Constitution. The proclamation for the special apportionment session in issue in this proceeding limited the session to three days and two hours, the specific period being from 10:00 a. m., Friday, March 26, 1982, through noon, Monday,

Page 361

March 29, 1982. The House of Representatives of the State of Florida has been allowed to appear as an interested party in support of the validity of the Governor's proclamation. The question presented is a matter of law, there being no factual disputes to be resolved. It is a matter that requires prompt resolution to avoid mootness and prevent an adverse effect on the functions of government. See Brown v. Firestone, 382 So.2d 654 (Fla.1980).

Jurisdiction of this Court is sought under article V, section 3(b)(5) (mandamus) and section 3(b)(7) (all writs), Florida Constitution (1980). We conclude that we need not consider the appropriateness of directing an alternative writ of mandamus to the chief executive of this state because there is an independent basis for jurisdiction in this case.

We find jurisdiction to entertain this matter is vested under article V, section 3(b)(7), which provides in pertinent part that the Supreme Court "(m) ay issue ... all writs necessary to the complete exercise of its jurisdiction." By the extraordinary provisions of article III, section 16(b), (c) and (f), Florida Constitution (1968), this Court is vested with jurisdiction in the second year following each decennial census to either review a legislative plan of apportionment or actually devise a plan of apportionment depending upon the occurrence or non-occurrence of certain conditions precedent. The mode in which the Court will entertain apportionment is dictated by action or inaction of the legislature in adopting a joint resolution of apportionment, but, irrespective of its action, we will entertain the issue each ten years. Because jurisdiction of the issue of apportionment will vest in this Court with certainty in this year we have the jurisdiction conferred by article V, section 3(b)(7), to issue all writs necessary to the complete exercise and in aid of the ultimate jurisdiction imposed by article III, section 16(b), (c) and (f). Couse v. Canal Authority, 209 So.2d 865 (Fla.1968). Petitioner alleges the invalidity of the Governor's action in calling the special apportionment session for a term of less than thirty days. If that call be constitutionally defective then the manner in which we entertain apportionment is directly affected. Furthermore, the validity of the special apportionment session could presumably be raised by the parties in the eventual proceedings before this Court pursuant to article III, section 16. For the foregoing reasons we exercise our discretion to invoke jurisdiction of this cause under article V, section 3(b)(7), Florida Constitution (1980).

After receiving expedited briefs and oral argument, we held in our order of March 27, 1982, that "the Governor has no authority to limit the apportionment session to less than thirty consecutive days and his only discretion is to determine when the period will commence within thirty days after the regular session adjourns." Florida Senate v. Graham, 412 So.2d 359 at 359 (Fla.1982). This opinion expresses the reasons for our holding.

The constitutional provision in issue is article III, section 16(a), which provides:

Section 16. Legislative apportionment.-

(a) SENATORIAL AND REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICTS. The legislature at its regular session in the second year following each decennial census, by joint resolution, shall apportion the state in accordance with the constitution of the state and of the United States into not less than thirty nor more than forty consecutively numbered senatorial districts of either contiguous, overlapping or identical territory, and into not less than eighty nor more than one hundred twenty consecutively numbered representative districts of either contiguous, overlapping or identical territory. Should that session adjourn without adopting such joint resolution, the governor by proclamation shall reconvene the legislature within thirty days in special apportionment session which shall not exceed thirty consecutive days, during which no other business shall be transacted, and it shall be the mandatory duty of the legislature to adopt a joint resolution of apportionment. (Emphasis added.)

Page 362

The Governor contends that he has the authority to limit a special apportionment session, called...

To continue reading