Robert Hinkle

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Robert Hinkle
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #2
Station:   Tallahassee
Service:
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Active:   8/1/1996 - Present
Chief:   2004 - 2009
Preceded by:   William Stafford
Personal History
Born:   1951
Hometown:   Apalachicola, FL
Undergraduate:   Florida State U., B.A., 1972
Law School:   Harvard School of Law, J.D., 1976
Robert Lewis Hinkle is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. He joined the court in 1996 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton. Hinkle served as the court's Chief Judge from 2004-2009. Prior to appointment, Hinkle was a private practice attorney in Florida.[1]

Early life and education

Born in Apalachicola, Florida, Hinkle graduated from Florida State University with his bachelor's degree in 1972 and later from Harvard School of Law with his Juris Doctor degree in 1976.[1]

Professional career

Hinkle was a law clerk for Federal Appeals Judge Irving Goldberg in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1976 to 1977. In 1977, Hinkle entered private practice in Georgia before moving to Florida where he was in private practice from 1978 to 1996.[1]

Judicial career

Northern District of Florida

On the recommendation of U.S. Senator Bob Graham, Hinkle was nominated to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida by President Bill Clinton on June 6, 1996, to a seat vacated by William Stafford. Hinkle was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 25, 1996 on a Senate vote and received commission on August 1, 1996. Hinkle has been the Chief Judge of the court since 2004.[2]

Notable cases

Judge says Florida's ban on same-sex marriage is discrimination (2014)

     United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Brenner v. Scott and Grimsley v. Scott, 4:14cv107-RH/CAS and 4:14cv138-RH/CAS)

Following a number of similar, county-level decisions across the state, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled on August 21, 2014, that Florida's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage that was passed in 2008 is unconstitutional. In the ruling, the judge compared the issue of same-sex marriage to that of interracial marriage in the past, writing:
When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida's ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination. Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held.[3][4][5]

Hinkle stayed his ruling, pending appeal, meaning that same-sex marriages were not immediately allowed in the state. The underlying cases involved 22 people--eight same-sex couples, as well as members of an LGBT-focused group called SAVE--who sued the state in order to obtain marriage licenses.[6]

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) praised the ruling, while the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops said they were disappointed by it. The bishops had filed a friend-of-the-court brief expressing their "strong interest in protecting the traditional institution of husband-wife marriage because of the religious beliefs of its members and due to this institution's benefits to children, families and society."[3]

The ruling followed four local-level decisions by judges in the counties of Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, that ruled similarly against the ban in July and August of 2014.

EPA water rules (2009)

     United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
Judge Hinkle on November 16, 2009 ordered a consent decree on the Environmental Protection Agency to come up with limits for freshwater pollution by October 14, 2010. Environmental advocacy groups in Florida sued the EPA for the standards due to claims that freshwater lakes are being polluted by nitrogen, phosphorus, and oxygen. The judge found the State of Florida failed to enforce major provisions of the Clean Water Act of 1990 as indication of requiring the consent decree.[7]

See also

External links

References

Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
William Stafford
Northern District of Florida
1996–Current
Seat #2
Succeeded by:
NA