What is the purpose of the court?
The Florida Supreme Court
is part of the State Courts System
. It is the highest state court, and therefore the final court for state appeals. The Supreme Court promulgates rules governing the practice and procedure in all Florida courts, regulates the admission and discipline of lawyers, and has the responsibility to discipline and remove judicial officers in Florida.
Who is eligible to be a justice?
Supreme Court justices are appointed by the Governor and subsequently elected to a six-year term by a merit retention statewide vote. To be eligible for appointment, a person must be a registered voter who resides in Florida and has been admitted to the practice of law in Florida for the preceding 10 years. One justice from each of the five appellate districts
must be represented on the court.
The Supreme Court is composed of seven justices
. Five justices are necessary for a quorum, and four justices must concur for there to be a decision of this court. Thus, the Supreme Court cannot take any action until at least four members agree to the decision and at least five members participate.
What cases does the court hear?
The court conducts mandatory reviews of final orders of lower courts that have imposed the death penalty, district court decisions declaring a state statute or provision of the state constitution invalid, bond validations, and actions of statewide agencies relating to public utilities.
At its discretion, the court may review certain decisions of District Courts of Appeal (DCAs)
and matters of law certified to it by DCA and federal appellate courts, and render advisory opinions both to the Attorney General
relating to the validity of initiative petitions and the Governor relating to constitutional duties and powers.
How many cases does the court hear?
During the 2018 calendar year, 2,161 cases
were added to the Florida Supreme Court docket
and 2,282 cases were disposed during the year. Additional information on the Supreme Court filings and dispositions are available in caseload statistics
What is the court's role in regulating attorneys?
The court regulates admission of attorneys to the practice of law and discipline of attorneys admitted to the bar. It also regulates the discipline and removal of judicial officials in Florida. For more
information, see The Florida Bar
What offices assist with the administrative functions of the court?
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
is the chief administrative officer of the entire state judicial system. The State Courts Administrator
supervises the Office of the State Courts Administrator (OSCA)
, which assists in managing the state courts system. Among other duties, OSCA serves the chief justices in carrying out their responsibilities to oversee a uniform case reporting system, assists in preparing the court operating budget, and projects the need for judges and specialized court divisions.
OSCA serves as liaison between the court system and the legislative and executive branches, the related organizations of the court (The Florida Bar
, The Florida Board of Bar Examiners
, and The Florida Bar Foundation
), and national court research and planning agencies. OSCA also administers and provides technical assistance on the operation of many specialized divisions and efforts of county and circuit courts, including Family Courts
, Drug Courts
, Public Guardianship, and Jury Management. For a complete delineation of the duties of OSCA, see Rule 2.205(e)(2)
, Florida Rules of Judicial Administration
In addition to the State Courts Administrator
, the Clerk of the Court at the Florida Supreme Court
and Supreme Court Marshal
assist with the operations of the Supreme Court. The Office of the Clerk is responsible for maintaining all case files and tracking the progress of all cases through the Supreme Court. The Marshal oversees the security, custodianship of all property, building and grounds maintenance and administration of the building facilities, include development and execution of the court operational budget.
How are these activities funded?
Three New Supreme Court Justices. In January 2019, three justices of the Florida Supreme Court retired: Justice Barbara Pariente, Justice Fred Lewis, and Justice Peggy Quince. This was the first time in the court's 172-year history that three justices left the bench at the same time. Governor DeSantis appointed Justice Barbara Lagoa, Justice Robert Luck, and Justice Carlos Muñiz in January 2019.
Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?
A Review of Florida Circuit Courts, Report 15-13, December 2015
Review of Florida's Judicial Qualifications Commission, Report 15-12, December 2015
Where can I get more information?
What are the applicable statutes?
, Constitution of the State of Florida
, and Ch. 25
, Florida Statutes
Whom do I contact for help?
Office of the State Courts Administrator, Supreme Court of Florida, 850-922-5081 Website