Although a number of daily newspapers and the American Bar Association have found Lawson to be highly qualified for retention as a Florida Supreme Court Justice, we are following the lead of SAVE and other LGBT advocacy groups in recommending against.
Lawson is notorious in LGBT legal circles as the lone dissenter in the lesbian parental rights case T.M.H. v. D.M.T when he was an appellate judge in 2011.
Indeed, LGBT groups have long been aware of Lawson’s inclination against expanding LGBT rights. When his name was first floated for nomination to the supreme court in 2009 under the Charlie Christ administration, Equality Florida urged against it, calling attention to his strong endorsement by the National Rifle Association and the far-right American Family Association.
When he was ultimately elevated to the Supreme Court in 2016 by Governor Rick Scott, the legal blog Law 360 noted that it was a sign of the court’s further “tilt to the right” under Scott. Indeed, like the far-right justices on the US Supreme court, Lawson has referred to himself as “very originalist” in his judicial philosophy.
In view of the Trump administrations renewed attack on recently-won LGBT rights, we believe that Lawson’s record deserves extra scrutiny, and that the voters should give next governor permission to replace him.