Get to Know the Members of the Supreme Court of Florida
When representing each of its clients aggressively, the attorneys at Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore follow case law in Florida that has been interpreted and applied by the courts in the state. As the highest court in the state of Florida, the Florida Supreme Court is responsible for making final determinations as to what the state law is in Florida. You may never meet the justices in person – but their actions and interpretations of law affect many individuals who seek justice in the state court system.
The high court consists of seven justices, one of whom presides as the Chief Justice. Florida’s governor fills any vacancies on the high court by appointing an individual from a slate of names given to him by the Supreme Court judicial nominating commission. To be considered for the seat, one must be a Florida resident and registered voter and not older than 70 years of age. The term of a Justice lasts six years, after which each appointment must be confirmed by a retention vote of Florida’s voter during the general election.
The current Florida Supreme Court includes Justices Jorge Labarga, Charles Canady, Ricky Polston, C. Alan Lawson, Carlos G. Muñiz, John D. Couriel, and Jamie R. Grosshans.
Charles T. Canady is the current Chief Justice, serving for his third time in the position. Governor Crist appointed Charles Canady to the court in 2008. Born in Lakeland, Justice Canady was said to be one of the judges being considered by President Donald Trump as a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Justice Canady is a graduate of Haverford College and Yale Law School, where he earned his JD.
Former Governor Charlie Crist appointed Jorge Labarga to the court in 2009. Born in Havana, Cuba, Justice Labarga was retained in 2010 and 2016 and is credited with being the first Cuban-American to hold the post of Chief Justice in the state. Justice Labarga studied at the University of Florida and earned his J.D at the Levin College of Law in 1979. He has previously served as Chief Justice of Florida.
Ricky Polston was born in Alabama and raised in Graceville, Florida. Justice Polston was appointed by Governor Crist in 2008 and served as the Chief Justice from 2012 to 2014. Formerly a certified public accountant, Justice Polston was a judge on Florida’s First District Court of Appeal before joining the high court.
C. Alan Lawson was appointed to the court by Governor Rick Scott to replace the retiring Justice James E. C. Perry. He served as a judge of the Fifth District Court of Appeal before his appointment to the Supreme Court. Justice Lawson, born and raised in Lakeland, studied at Tallahassee Community College and Clemson University before earning his J.D. at the Florida State University College of Law.
Carlos G. Muñiz is one of the more recently appointed justices. Muñiz has served as a private and federal government attorney and in various positions in the Florida state government. After his studies at both the University of Virginia and Yale Law School, he clerked for multiple judges.
Last summer, John D. Couriel was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court. Previous to his appointment, Couriel served in a number of positions across the country, including as clerk for Honorable JohnD. Bates and as a Southern District of Florida Assistant United States Attorney.
Jamie R. Grosshans studied law at the University of Mississippi, where she clerked for multiple U.S. and state departments. She then went on to serve as an Assistant State Attorney in Orange County before entering private practice, serving as an Orange County Court Judge and on the Fifth District Court of Appeal.. Last September, Grosshans was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court.
Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore is a law firm based in the Tampa Bay area that specializes in personal injury cases. It is recognized as a “Best Law Firm” by Best Lawyers/U.S. News and World Report and handles cases involving personal injury, admiralty law, and medical and legal malpractice in Florida. One of the primary reasons for the success of the firm is its dedicated approach to serving the needs of each client.