Are you running for judicial office this year? October 20th is the last day to guarantee your bio info gets added to Judgepedia! Please use our biographical information submission form to enhance your profile page.

Florida Supreme Court

From Judgepedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Florida Supreme Court
Court information
Justices:   7
Founded:   1845
Chief:  $162,000
Associates:  $162,000
Judicial selection
Method:   Comm. select., Gov. appt.
Term:   6 years
Active justices

Fred Lewis  •  Barbara Pariente  •  Peggy Quince  •  Charles Canady  •  Ricky Polston  •  Jorge Labarga  •  James Perry  •  

Seal of Florida.png

Founded in 1845, the Florida Supreme Court is the state's court of last resort.


The current justices of the court are:
JudgeTermSelected by
Justice Fred Lewis1998-2019Gov. Lawton Chiles
Justice Barbara Pariente1997-2019Gov. Lawton Chiles
Justice Peggy Quince1998-2019Gov. Lawton Chiles
Justice Charles Canady2008-2017Gov. Charlie Crist
Justice Ricky Polston2008-2017Gov. Charlie Crist
Chief Justice Jorge Labarga2009-2017Gov. Charlie Crist
Justice James Perry2009-2017Gov. Charlie Crist


The Florida Constitution gives the Supreme Court manditory appellate jurisdiction over certain types of cases such as death penalty and public utilities cases, discretionary appellate jurisdiction over matters pertaining to the state constitution, and exclusive and non-exclusive jurisdiction over writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, and prohibition.[1]

Judicial selection

See also: Judicial selection in Florida

Judges are selected using the commission selection, political appointment method, where the Governor of Florida chooses from a list of three to six candidates recommended by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. Justices serve six-year terms. The appointment of a justice must be confirmed by a retention vote in the next general election at least one year after taking office.[2]

Political outlook

See also: Political outlook of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan outlook of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 were more liberal. The state Supreme Court of Florida was given a Campaign finance score (CFscore) which was calculated for judges in October 2012. At that time, Florida received a score of 0.51. Based on the justices selected, Florida was the 8th most conservative court. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice but rather, an academic gauge of various factors.[3]


Minimum qualifications for appoint to the court are:

  • Registered to vote in Florida.
  • Resident of Florida.
  • Under 70 years of age.

Removal of justices

Judges may be removed in one of two ways:


Jorge LabargaCharles CanadyRicky PolstonJames PerryBarbara ParientePeggy QuinceFred LewisFL Supreme Court.jpg
Florida Supreme Court justices, from left to right, top row: Jorge Labarga, Charles Canady, Ricky Polston, James Perry bottom row: Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince, Fred Lewis
Fiscal Year Filings Dispositions
2012 2,752 2,366
2011 2,539
2010 2,506
2009 2,386
2008 2,505
2007 2,478


Florida has not provided information on all of its Supreme Court's yearly dispositions.

Notable decisions

The Florida Supreme Court has heard many cases of note, including the 2000 presidential election Florida recount case Bush v. Gore.[7]


Financial disclosure

See also: Center for Public Integrity Study on State Supreme Court Disclosure Requirements

In December 2013, the Center for Public Integrity released a study on disclosure requirements for state supreme court judges. Analysts from the Center reviewed the rules governing financial disclosure in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as personal financial disclosures for the past three years. The study found that 42 states and Washington D.C. received failing grades. Florida earned a grade of F in the study. No state received a grade higher than "C". Furthermore, due in part to these lax disclosure standards, the study found 35 instances of questionable gifts, investments overlapping with caseloads and similar potential ethical quandaries. The study also noted 14 cases in which justices participated although they or their spouses held stock in the company involved in the litigation.[14]

History of the court

Florida Supreme Court building

The composition of the Florida Supreme Court owes its origins to the influencing colonial powers of Spain and England. The resulting rules are a mixture of British Common Law and Spanish Crown Law. The 1838 constitution of the Territory of Florida provided for a Supreme Court, but the territory had no Justices specific to the Supreme Court, instead borrowing judges from the four judicial circuits in the state. When Florida became a state in 1845, this constitution was adopted. A 1940 amendment increased the number of judges to seven. Florida District Courts of Appeal were not founded until 1957 in an effort to reduce the caseload before the supreme court. From the courts founding until 1971 judges were chosen by direct election, but the court was changed to a commission selection, political appointment method.[15][16]

Notable firsts

  • Justice Peggy Quince is the first African American woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. She is also only the second African-American and third female to serve on the court.[17]
  • Justice Joseph Hatchett was the first African-American to serve on the court.[18]
  • Justice Rosemary Barkett was the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. She is also the first female, Arab-American and Hispanic woman to be appointed to the court.[19]
  • Justice Raoul Cantero was the first person of Hispanic decent to serve on the court.[20]

See also

External links


  1. FL Supreme Court History
  2. Supreme Court Overview
  3. Stanford University, "State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns," October 31, 2012
  4. Methods of Judicial selection:Removal of Judges
  5. E-mail from Florida Public Information Office provided 2012 numbers
  6. Florida State Courts, Annual Report, 2011-2012
  7. Wikipedia: Florida Supreme Court
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 North Escambia, "Florida Supreme Court cancels hearing on execution drug," December 15, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2, "Florida’s Barbaric, Disgusting Decision to Execute a Prisoner Using an Untested Drug," By Justin Peters, October 16, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Reuters, "Florida Supreme Court rules execution drug is effective sedative," by Bill Cotterell, December 19, 2013
  11. "Florida Supreme Court approves new execution drug," December 15, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  13. Supreme Court of Florida, "RICK SCOTT, et al. vs. GEORGE WILLIAMS, et al.,," January 17, 2013
  14. Center for Public Integrity, "State supreme court judges reveal scant financial information," December 5, 2013
  15. Florida Supreme Court
  16. History of the Florida District Courts of Appeal
  17. Florida Supreme Court, Chief Justice Peggy A. Quince
  18. Florida Supreme Court, Judge Profile, Josephy Hatchet
  19. Florida Supreme Court, Judge Profile, Rosemary Barkett
  20. Florida Supreme Court, Judge Cantero Biography


JudgeIncumbencyRetention voteRetention Vote %
ParienteBarbara Pariente   ApprovedAYes4,934,29668.0%ApprovedA
LewisFred Lewis   ApprovedAYes4,899,66767.5%ApprovedA
QuincePeggy Quince   ApprovedAYes4,894,67767.7%ApprovedA


Florida Supreme Court, Associate Justice
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Charles Canady BallotCheckMark.png 3,032,766 67.5%
Against retention 1,457,276 32.5%
Florida Supreme Court, Associate Justice
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Ricky Polston BallotCheckMark.png 2,917,344 66.1%
Against retention 1,494,754 33.9%
Florida Supreme Court, Associate Justice
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Jorge Labarga BallotCheckMark.png 2,623,144 59.0%
Against retention 1,825,270 41.0%
Florida Supreme Court, Associate Justice
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
James Perry BallotCheckMark.png 2,741,271 61.7%
Against retention 1,700,729 38.3%
  • Click here for 2010 General Election Results from the Florida Secretary of State.
Main Article: Florida judicial elections, 2010


Florida Supreme Court, Associate Justice
2006 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Fred Lewis BallotCheckMark.png 2,759,763 67.1%
Against retention 1,351,264 32.9%
Florida Supreme Court, Associate Justice
2006 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Barbara Pariente BallotCheckMark.png 2,772,413 67.6%
Against retention 1,328,674 32.4%
Florida Supreme Court, Associate Justice
2006 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Peggy Quince BallotCheckMark.png 2,787,041 68.2%
Against retention 1,296,966 31.8%
  • Click here for 2006 General Election Results from the Florida Secretary of State.

FloridaFlorida Supreme CourtFlorida District Courts of AppealFlorida Circuit CourtFlorida County CourtUnited States District Court for the Middle District of FloridaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of FloridaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of FloridaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh CircuitFlorida countiesFlorida judicial newsFlorida judicial electionsJudicial selection in FloridaFloridaTemplatewithoutBankruptcy.jpg