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Democrat files suit, aims to force Scott into selecting new lieutenant governor

Florida Governor Rick Scott with former Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll
Florida Governor Rick Scott with former Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The state of Florida has been without a lieutenant governor for the past 10 months. Yesterday, Tallahassee lobbyist Barbara Devane filed a lawsuit seeking to change that.

Devane, an activist who works on behalf of the National Organization for women and other left-leaning groups, wants the Florida state Supreme Court to force Governor Scott's hand. The suit would compel him to quickly fill the position, which has been vacant since Jennifer Carroll resigned at the governor's urging.

The modern office of lieutenant governor was only created in 1968, and the position has no specific duties or powers prescribed to it by law. As such, some pundits have argued that the office's $500,000 annual budget could be better spent elsewhere.

Devane disagrees.

"At present, if there is another oil spill and the governor is unavailable for whatever reason, the state will be powerless to respond," she wrote in her complaint.

The Scott administration's chief counsel, Pete Antonacci, has refused to comment directly on the substance of the lawsuit.

"Nothing is required of us until the court acts," Antonacci told reporters. "If the court acts and it requires a response, we will respond."


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