The Florida Bar

Florida Bar News

The Florida Supreme Court officially came into being 175 years ago

News in Photos
The Florida Supreme Court officially came into being 175 years ago

The Florida Supreme Court was officially created 175 years ago. It happened on March 3, 1845, when Florida was admitted to the Union, becoming the 27 star in the American flag.

Justice Thomas Douglas

Florida’s admission was paired with that of the free state of Iowa. This was a continuation of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 in an effort to minimize the growing conflict between free and slave states.

The first Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court would be Thomas Douglas, chosen nearly a year later in 1846 after the first justices had trouble traveling to Tallahassee to organize. His election as chief justice was recorded in official minute books still in the possession of the court today.

William D. Moseley was the first governor, and the total population of Florida was only about 66,000, barely more than the minimum needed for statehood at the time. Most of the residents were concentrated in northern cities like Pensacola, Tallahassee, and St. Augustine. Florida was the least populous of all the Southern states.

Today, Florida’s population exceeds 21-one million, making it the third most populous state in the nation and larger than any Southern state except Texas. Its economy of roughly a trillion dollars per year would make it the 17th largest economy in the world if it were standing alone.

More images available on the Supreme Court Facebook page.

News in Photos