News and Updates | May 2021
In Memoriam: Justice Hatchett
Former Florida Supreme Court Justice and retired 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Joseph W. Hatchett passed away April 30. He was 88.

Hatchett was the first Black person appointed to the Supreme Court since Reconstruction, and the first Black person ever elected to public office in a statewide election in the South. He served on the Supreme Court from 1975-1979.

In January, Hatchett received the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The event included video clips from a May 2, 1990, ceremonial Supreme Court session and oral history program honoring Hatchett.

Government Relations Update
Judicial Vacancies, Nominations, and Confirmations

President Biden on March 30 nominated 10 candidates to serve as circuit appeals and district court judges. The list of nominees included three appeals court nominees to the Washington D.C. Circuit, the Seventh Circuit, and the Federal Circuit and seven nominees to district courts in Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C. In all, nine of the ten nominees are women, and nine are people of color. Most have diverse legal experience as well, as defense and prosecution lawyers, and in both criminal and civil practice. Currently, there are 74 vacancies for Article III judges.

Current vacancies in numbers:
Appeal Court Judges: 7
District Court Judges: 64
International Trade Court Judges: 2

 Judicial Conference Recommends 79 Additional Judgeships. 

The Judicial Conference of the United States on March 16 recommended to Congress that it create two new court of appeals judgeships and 77 new district judgeships. The Conference also recommended that nine temporary district judgeships be converted to permanent status. The Judicial Conference proposal would give California the most new district court judgeships -- 30 in all and would establish two new seats on the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The proposal also would create a dozen new district court judgeships in Texas, 11 in Florida (7 in the Middle District), and five in New Jersey. Congress last enacted a comprehensive bill to increase the number of appellate and district judgeships in 1990. Since then the caseload in the district courts rose 47 percent, with civil cases up by 41 percent and criminal filings up by 72 percent. Filings in the courts of appeals rose 12 percent.
Journey to Esquire Scholar Presentation Featuring Judge Scriven
Journey to Esquire® thanks the FBA - Tampa Bay Chapter for its support of our program. The five scholars, third-year law students from Stetson and Cooley law schools, made presentations on April 24, 2021, and we had Judge Mary S. Scriven as our keynote speaker.
Board Member Spotlight, continued

What advice would you offer a new lawyer?
The first bit of advice I’d offer is to seek out different advice from different perspectives. There is no one-size-fits-all way to succeed in this profession and you will be well-served by soaking it all in. Second, join and be active in various organizations—legal and non-legal. Of course, the Tampa Bay Chapter of FBA should be at the top of the list. Even through the pandemic, our Chapter (particularly the YLD) continues to provide excellent opportunities for networking and fellowship. The learning curve for a lawyer is a steep one, and it is absolutely critical to have a strong network of friends and colleagues to celebrate your successes (and failures) along the way. Finally, have fun. This is a serious profession with serious consequences, but the practice can be quite rewarding and fun at times.

What are your hobbies?
I love being outdoors and spending time with my family. Most weeks (and weekends) I spend my time on the sidelines at my son’s soccer games and watching my daughter ride horses. But I like to get out into the Gulf (and occasionally the Keys) for a scuba diving trip at least once a month. If anything good has come from the last year, I think we’ve all learned to appreciate how much there is to do outdoors in Florida
For questions or to submit announcements or other content,
please contact Erin Jackson or Erik Johanson.