The Florida Supreme Court and Its Predecessor Courts
"I highly recommend this book to all members of the bench and bar. . . . [It] would have been of immense value to me as a lawyer, attorney general, and supreme court justice. It historically depicts in flesh-and-blood images the litigators and jurists who participated in formulating the rules of law that govern in Florida today."--Richard W. Ervin, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Florida, 1969-1971
"A thoughtful, meticulously researched examination of the Florida judicial system's evolution."--Kenneth W. Starr, solicitor general of the United States, 1989-1993
This is the first in-depth history of the Florida territorial courts, the Supreme Court of Florida, and the judges of both from 1821 to 1917, the golden age of state constitutional law.
The Supreme Court of Florida and its territorial predecessors often were at the center of leading political, social, and economic controversies. By examining the court's opinions on issues such as slavery, internal improvements, and business regulation, the authors reveal the way the court shaped and was shaped by the competing interests that transformed Florida. Court efforts at the same time to define the scope of each branch of government reveal the ways that political power influenced the court's work.
Virtually all jurists on the appellate courts during the era held other prominent positions in business or government. The biographies of these men--usually the most extensive accounts ever written--include their background and accomplishments as well as weaknesses, and demonstrate that their political and legal philosophies often overlapped significantly.