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Even though Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris prevailed in her bid to quash a state court challenge against the new congressional redistricting plan, she is still bristling over remarks hurled her way by Broward Circuit Judge Robert Lance Andrews in Fort Lauderdale. One day after Andrews ruled in her favor, he told the Miami Daily Business Review what he thought about Harris, who is also a candidate for Congress across the state in Sarasota: “This woman is crazy.” The underlying case was a challenge by three Congress members from South Florida — U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown, Alcee Hastings and Carrie Meek — who sued Harris and Attorney General Bob Butterworth in Broward Circuit Court alleging that the redistricting plan violated the state constitution. Later, Harris declared that Butterworth, a Democrat, inadequately defended the state and filed a motion to disqualify her co-defendant. She also offered to take his place as the state’s top lawyer in the case. Andrews ultimately upheld Harris’ position that the case should be heard in federal court. But her motion turned the judge caustic. So Harris struck back. She and her attorney from the election recount wars, Joseph P. Klock Jr., chairman of Steel Hector & Davis in Miami, called for Andrews’ disqualification on June 20, claiming bias. “Aside from the obviously crude, insensitive and derogatory reference to the secretary as ‘this woman,’ the court has clearly stepped outside the bounds of permissible judicial conduct to launch a personal attack,” Harris said in her motion. “There is no basis for such statements, and they have no place being uttered by a circuit court judge in the privacy of his office, let alone for the disedification of thousands of readers.” It could have been worse. Two years ago, in open court, the loquacious judge had this to say about Pembroke Pines, Fla., neurosurgeon Stephen Z. Gervin, who appeared in Andrews’ court as an expert witness: “He wouldn’t know the truth if it leapt up and bit him in the ass.”

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