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Judge Rosemary Barkett

A graduate of Spring Hill College and the University of Florida Law School, Judge Barkett worked in private practice in Florida and then served in numerous capacities on Florida State Courts, including been appointed as a Justice and later Chief Justice on the Florida Supreme Court, before her elevation to the federal bench. Judge Barkett has been an adjunct professor of law at Columbia Law School and Florida State University College of Law and is a member of the International Women’s Forum and the American Society of International Law, where she serves on the Judicial Outreach Program Advisory Board.

Barketts AwardJudge Barkett has taken a most unusual career path to the bench. Born in Mexico to parents of Syrian descent, she began learning English at age six when her family moved to Miami. At age 17 she became a nun and joined a convent. A year later she became a U.S. citizen. As a nun for almost 10 years, she taught elementary and junior high school in Tampa, Jacksonville and St. Augustine.

She left the convent in 1967 because she "believed there were other ways to serve humanity." After receiving her B.S. degree summa cum laude from Spring Hill College, she earned a law degree from the University of Florida. She practiced law in West Palm Beach for two years before Governor Bob Graham appointed her to the 15th Judicial Circuit Court in 1979. Subsequently, Graham appointed her to the 4th DCA in 1984 and to the Florida Supreme Court in 1985.

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The 2014 Florida Supreme Court Historical Society's Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to
Rosemary Barkett

In recognition of a highly distinguished career as a lawyer and as a well-respected member of the judiciary in Florida by unanimous vote of the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society Board of Trustees. 

Judge Barkett’s service has been exemplary and her accomplishments are extensive. She was the state’s first woman Justice on the Florida Supreme Court and the court’s first woman Chief Justice after completing service as a judge and chief judge of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit and as a judge on the Fourth District Court of Appeal. She was appointed in 2013 to the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague after serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit since 1994.

Judge Barkett has made many extraordinary contributions to Florida’s legal system, including serving on the State of Florida Sentencing Guidelines Commission, the Statewide Prosecution Function Commission and as a faculty member for judicial colleges and law schools. She is a member of the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame, the International Women’s Forum and the American Society of International Law where she serves on the Judicial Outreach Program Advisory Board. In 1999, she was the National Association of Women Judges’ Honoree of the Year, and today there are two awards given by Florida legal groups named in her honor.

Throughout her exemplary public service, Judge Barkett has followed her conscience and her heart within the parameters of the law, she always strives to do what is right and good to achieve justice, she combines high intellect with the common touch, and she embraces new challenges with great fervor. 

Judge Barkett’s devotion to the law, the bench and to the community at large and her outstanding character and ethics are deserving of the society’s greatest appreciation and its highest honor. 
     Officers and Trustees of the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society

January 30, 2014

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