SPRING / SUMMER 2022 A Publication of THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT HISTORICAL SOCIETY
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Fall/Winter Issue of the Historical Review
For close to two centuries, very few details existed about Florida’s fourth Supreme Court Justice, George Macrae, who served for one year in 1847.
The lack of particulars included what he looked like, where he came from and what happened after leaving the bench. Adding to the mystery is the eerie portrait hanging in the Supreme Court building with his name. The picture commissioned in the 1980s was to be painted based on images of his descendants. Years later, the aging artist revealed she could not find pictures to use and painted a portrait of her uncle instead.
However, this lack of historical knowledge changed when Parkland attorney Kenneth Cutler volunteered to use his finely honed historical detective skills to solve the mystery. Cutler scoured 19th-century newspapers, surveys, census records from multiple states to uncover the details of Macrae’s colorful life that played out on both coasts of the US.
You can read about the uncovered mystery of one of Florida’s original Supreme Court Justices and much more in Fall/Winter issue of the Historical Review magazine.
IN THIS EDITION
JAMIE GROSSHANS SWORN IN TO SERVE ON THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA AS 91st JUSTICE
Jamie R. Grosshans didn’t set out to be on the Florida Supreme Court, but it’s not surprising that she has joined the state’s highest court as its newest justice, according to her friend, Fifth District Court of Appeal Judge Meredith Sasso.
Speaking at a packed Supreme Court at Grosshans’ ceremonial investiture November 17, Sasso said, “What Jamie did is she thought about what was important to her and she let that lead her. My advice to ambitious law students would be if you want to be like Justice Grosshans, first figure out what you believe in and then pursue what you’re passionate about and pursue it with integrity…
As Chief Justice Charles Canady noted in opening the session, Grosshans was actually appointed to the court on September 14, 2020, by Gov. Ron DeSantis and has served since. But the ceremonial festivities to honor her being the 91st justice in the court’s 175-year history were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But that didn’t make the session, by turns, any less joyful and solemn as friends, DeSantis, and others praised Grosshans and talked about her journey from growing up in the small Mississippi town of Brookhaven, through the University of Mississippi law school, becoming an assistant state attorney in Orlando, running her own small firm, service as a county judge and on the Fifth DCA, and then to the Supreme Court.
INVESTITURE OF JUSTICE JOHN COURIEL AS FLORIDA'S 90TH SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
Justice John Couriel is the most fully “invested” justice to ceremonially join the Florida Supreme Court in its 175-year history. Sort of a veteran inductee.
As Chief Justice Charles Canady noted in introductory remarks, Couriel’s October 7 ceremonial investiture came 16 months after he actually joined the court, the intervening delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is the 90th investiture to occur in a history that now stretches back 175 years,” the chief justice noted. “It is the first investiture in this court’s history to be delayed because of a pandemic.”That pause didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Couriel’s family, friends, former colleagues, and others who packed the court to sing his praises and poke more than a little good-natured fun at the justice.
From the President of the Florida Supreme Court
Historical Society, Scott Rost
The Historical Society’s mission is to acknowledge and elevate the history and function of the Florida Supreme Court for the benefit of the legal profession and the public at large in the State of Florida and beyond. Its activities are educational and informative as well as celebratory. As the occasion requires, the Society hosts Investiture ceremonies for incoming justices, as we did in early October for Justice John D. Couriel and will in November for Justice Jamie R. Grosshans. Similarly, we conduct retirement recognition events for those exiting the bench. Since 2014 the Historical Society has commissioned the official portrait of each Justice. The collection of paintings provides a permanent visual record of each Justice’s presence and impact upon the institution.
Additionally, the Historical Society collects professional and personal memorabilia from retired Supreme Court justices and Court personnel to preserve the Court’s Library Archives. These items are as diverse and eclectic as books, writings, furniture, and firearms. These efforts seek to memorialize and honor the lives of those who sit on the Court and author its opinions as the complex, colorful, three-dimensional persons they are: legal scholars, brilliant thinkers, and unique personalities with families, hobbies, tastes, and distinct qualities. The Society publishes a periodical, the Historical Review, twice a year, featuring articles on current and past justices, noteworthy opinions rendered by the Court, and numerous topics about the Court’s history. Most notably, each January, the Society hosts its annual dinner tribute to the sitting justices: A Supreme Evening. The event takes place in Tallahassee and features remarks from the Chief Justice on the state of the Court and a presentation by a speaker of statewide or even national acclaim.
Our profound hope is that our A Supreme Evening 2022 will return to the traditional, live format, as we are now in the process of preparing for the event. I hope to continue the exceptional work my predecessors have performed in this role.
The Florida Supreme Court Historical Society held our annual “A Supreme Evening” fund-raising event virtually on January 28, and nearly 1,500 viewers watched the evening’s festivities on Zoom. The event lived up to its well-earned reputation as the “must-attend” event of the year for Florida's legal community.
After remarks by Society President Jon Claussen and Master of Ceremonies Hank Coxe, the audience enjoyed interviews with the court’s newest Supreme Court justices, John D. Couriel and Jamie R. Grosshans.
Chief Justice Charles Canady offered his “State of the Court” address, focusing on the pandemic’s effect on the courts and Florida judiciary, the courts’ swift pivot to the use of remote technology and the trial courts’ backlog of unresolved cases. He also shared plans for a partnership with the Society to create a Judicial Learning Center inside the Court’s 175-year-old library to offer educational outreach and learning programs that draw on the court’s history. Justice Canady concluded with a reminder about the importance of the role of the courts in our system of constitutional government.
The Historical Society presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Judge Joseph W. Hatchett, who was selected by a unanimous vote of the 75-member board of directors. Following moving video clips from former Gov. Reuben Askew, Chesterfield Smith and
More of A Supreme Evening
Fall/Winter 2020 Issue of the Historical Review
Bush v. Gore - 20 years later
The Fall/Winter 2020 Issue of our Historical Review magazine is dedicated to the 36 days after the 2000 Elections, when the world focused on the Florida Supreme Court's decisions of the cases now known as Bush v. Gore. This issue features articles from all perspectives, including journalists, attorneys from both sides and five of the seven Justices who were on the Florida Supreme Court during Bush v. Gore.
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