ruben_askew.jpgTALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ The Florida Bar is planning a $300,000 campaign to educate voters about merit retention elections of state Supreme Court justices and appellate judges.

Former Gov. Reubin Askew, the father of merit retention in Florida, was on hand as the bar announced its initiative Monday.

The effort comes amid conservative opposition to the retention of three justices.

It emerged after the high court removed from the 2010 ballot a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have let voters express opposition to the federal health care overhaul.

Merit retention allows voters to decide whether to keep or turn out justices and appellate judges. If a jurist is removed from office, the governor can appoint a replacement.

Polling shows 90 percent of voters, though, are unfamiliar with the system.