Published: Oct 07, 2010 3:54 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 07, 2010 12:54 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Two lawyers for the state have defended the practice of diverting a portion of court filing fees from a trust fund that helps pay for the judicial system.

They asked the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday to reverse a trial judge's ruling that diversion into the state's general fund is an unconstitutional denial of access to the courts.

The lawyers said the practice meets constitutional muster because the court system also gets money from the general fund - more, in fact, than it puts in through the fees.

A pair of long-practicing attorneys, both in their nineties, challenged the diversion. Their lawyers argued it's an illegal tax and those dollars should stay in the judicial trust fund because Florida's courts are underfunded.