Welcome Message from the President
Jonathan Claussen


It is without any sense of irony that I can affirmatively state that the past six months at the Florida Supreme Court have, in fact, been “historic(al).”  At no time in the 79 years since the Florida Supreme Court’s membership was increased to seven justices have three justices left the Court at precisely the same time, as occurred in January of this year with the retirements of Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince.  What’s more, those retirements coincided to the day with the swearing in of a new governor, Ron DeSantis, who almost immediately upon entering office, was required to appoint new justices to fill the three vacancies.


Justices Lewis, Pariente and Quince created a remarkable legacy at the Court.  Each served on the Court in excess of 20 years and authored hundreds of opinions (as well as a dissent or two, here and there).  Their accomplishments and accolades are far too many to enumerate, but I would encourage anyone interested in learning about these remarkable jurists to review their biographies on the Florida Supreme Court’s website .


Suffice it to say that they not only served the bench and bar of Florida with the highest distinction, but they dedicated themselves to causes critical to the betterment of all Floridians.  The Florida Supreme Court Historical Society considers itself privileged to have been able to interact with these justices for so many years.


Upon their departure, Governor DeSantis appointed in rapid succession Justices Barbara Lagoa, Robert Luck and Carlos Muñiz – the 87th, 88th and 89th justices of the Florida Supreme Court, respectively.  Justices Lagoa and Luck were both serving as colleagues on the Third District Court of Appeal immediately before appointment, while Justice Muñiz served as general counsel for the United States Department of Education.  They bring a wealth of valuable experience to their new roles.  The Society was honored to welcome the three of them to the Court at the Society’s annual dinner, A Supreme Evening, on February 7, 2019.

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The dinner, itself, set new standards, hosting a record audience of more than 500 guests.  Included among them was one particularly special guest: Governor DeSantis – the first time in more than a decade that a sitting governor attended the dinner and addressed the guests.  Governor DeSantis graciously agreed to appear and introduce the new justices to an audience eager to meet them and learn about their appointment. The keynote speaker for the evening was none other than former U.S. Solicitor General, Ted Olson, now back at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.  Mr. Olson, who has argued dozens of cases before the United States Supreme Court, including the Bush v. Gore election dispute and the Prop 8 same-sex marriage challenge, addressed the audience with his keynote presentation highlighting his keen insights and firsthand experiences.


As I come to the end of my second year as president of this wonderful organization, I pause to reflect on how privileged I have been to work with such an amazing board of trustees and such terrific staff in furthering the important mission of the Society.  None of the Society’s accomplishments these past two years would have been possible without the tireless efforts of those individuals, and to them I extend my sincerest appreciation and my wishes for continued success.


Sincerely,


Jon Claussen

President

Florida Supreme Court Historical Society



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