Welcome Message from the President
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.
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.
Florida Supreme Court Historical