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    Banner: Portrait Gallery

    Justice Richard W. Ervin

    The black robes of a judge are one of the trademarks of America's judicial system. Yet, the State of Florida was very slow to [PORTRAIT:
Justice Richard Ervin]adopt the custom. Until a few years after the Second World War, Florida's Justices sat behind the bench in plain business suits. One former Clerk of the Court Talbot Whitfield -- grandfather of Florida State University President Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte -- even tried to "dignify" this plain-suit Court by wearing a tuxedo to work each working day. He failed.

    But times change, much to the regret of at least one Justice. When Richard W. Ervin was appointed as the 55th Justice in 1964, he was required to don the black robe of a judge, though he publicly admitted his awkwardness. Justice Ervin once described his discomfort in the following terms: "It always seemed incongruous to me, a Florida Cracker born in Carrabelle, that I should be enrobed. I was awfully glad we weren't bewigged!"

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