Old Florida Supreme Court courtroom
Florida Supreme Court
Florida Supreme Court (old courtroom), taken by Joe Bodiford, August 2017
The Florida Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S. state of Florida. It consists of seven members—the chief justice and six justices. Five members are chosen from five districts around the state to foster geographic diversity and two are selected at-large.
The Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor to set terms that do not exceed six years. Immediately after appointment, the initial term is three years or less, because the justices must appear on the ballot in the next general election that occurs more than one year after their appointment. Afterward they serve six-year terms and remain in office if retained in the general election near the end of each term. Citizens vote on whether they want to retain each justice in office, or not.
Chief justices are elected by the members of the Court to two-year terms that end in every even-numbered year. Chief justices can succeed themselves in office if re-elected by the other justices.
The Florida Supreme Court is the final arbiter of Florida law, and its decisions are binding authority for all other Florida state courts and for federal courts when they apply Florida law. In most instances, the only appeal from the Florida Supreme Court is to the U.S. Supreme Court on questions of federal law.
Established upon statehood in 1845, the court is headquartered across Duval Street from the state capitol in Tallahassee. Throughout the court’s history it has undergone many reorganizations as Florida’s population has grown.
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