Justice Fred Henry Davis
Fred Henry Davis, the 42nd Justice of the Supreme Court, was remarkable for the youthful age at which he attained so many high State offices and honors. Yet this habit of excellence already was clearly established in the Tallahassee resident's teen years. In 1914 while only six months out of high school, Davis received the highest score on the Florida Bar exam. In those days, as some may recall, a law-school diploma was not necessary to practice law provided the applicant could demonstrate a sufficient skill with legal principles.
This skill was amply demonstrated by Davis. Surprisingly, he was so young at the time that before Davis could be sworn as a lawyer he had to petition a Florida judge to remove the legal disabilities attached to minors. His request was quickly granted and, at age eighteen, his remarkable legal career had begun.
Davis did not rest on his laurels. He was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1921 while in his mid-20s. By age 33 Davis had taken office as the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives -- a job he soon left to become Attorney General of the State, a Cabinet-level executive office. He left this last job two years later when he was appointed to the Supreme Court.
By age 38, Justice Davis became the youngest Chief Justice in Florida history. And with this last achievement, he added yet another first to his career: Justice Davis is the first person to hold leadership positions in all three branches of Florida government. And all of this was achieved at an age when many individuals have barely launched their careers.
Justice Davis remained a hardworking member of the Court until his death in 1937. During his tenure, he authored more than 1,000 opinions and was said to have spent so much time working at night that the night watchmen were loyal acquaintances.
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