2018 Message from the President
Edward G. GUEDES
As I near the end of my year as President of the Society – with the prospect of an extension of that term to a second year – I have cause to ponder what has taken place during these past twelve months and what we have to look forward to in the coming year. The Society remains a vibrant organization with phenomenal staff and a tremendous group of individuals comprising its Board of Trustees. Our staff each day excel in keeping the Society’s various moving parts in synch, while simultaneously interacting with the Florida Supreme Court and its staff in a seamless manner, all the while doing so with the most convivial disposition imaginable. Our trustees demonstrate a profound affection for the institution they serve, committing countless hours of their time to meetings and conferences calls all in furtherance of the Society’s important mission – all despite their hectic professional and personal schedules. On the fiscal side, the organization is excellent shape, despite the inevitable increase in expenses that time seems to visit upon all non-profits. The Society also accepted into the Court’s collection a number of significant historical contributions, including the memoir and papers of Justice William Ellis; a historically significant collection of early Florida law books from the library of late Henry Trawick, the godfather of Florida’s judicial rules and procedure (see page 3); and a portrait of Nancy Dobson, a founding member and longtime executive director of the Society (see page 7).
This past year’s annual dinner was a tremendous success. As usual, Hank Coxe lent his unique style and rhetorical skills to the event by serving as the master of ceremonies, proving once again the old adage, “When something ain’t broke – don’t fix it.” Guests at the dinner were privileged to hear from Hilarie Bass, the current president of the American Bar Association, who delivered the keynoteaddress at the dinner. Also, the Society honored former Florida Bar Executive Director, John “Jack” Harkness, with the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. At Mr. Harkness’ request, the Historical Society made a contribution to the Florida Bar Foundation's Children’s Defense Fund in his name instead of presenting him with an award plaque. The total contribution from the Trustees and Society to the Defense Fund in Jack Harkness’ name was over $4600.
As productive as this past year has been, the coming year promises to be a whirlwind of activity. Three of the current sitting justices – Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente, and Peggy Quince – will be retiring from the Court after decades of service not only to the Court, but to the judiciary and Bar of the State of Florida as well. Preparations are already underway statewide to honor these judicial legends for their remarkable contributions. Naturally, the forthcoming departure of three sitting justices leads inexorably to the arrival and welcoming of three new justices to the Florida Supreme Court and their investitures. Undoubtedly, the 2018-19 calendar for the Society will be replete with activities.
Finally, the Court prepares to transition the role of Chief Justice from Justice Jorge Labarga to Justice Charles Canady, who previously served in that capacity from July 2010 until July 2012. The Society wishes to extend its heartfelt congratulations to Chief Justice Labarga for his successful (and successive) terms as Chief, as well as express its sincere appreciation for his warm and engaged interaction with the Society these past four years. We look forward to our working closely once again with soon-to-be Chief Justice Canady during this critically important transition year for the Florida Supreme Court.
As always, we invite all our members (and those who are not yet members) to become engaged in the Society’s important mission. The Society would not be able to accomplish all that it does were it not for the support and participation of it valued members.
Edward G. Guedes
Florida Supreme Court Historical Society