Justices of the Florida Supreme Court

Address:
Supreme Court of Florida
500 South Duval Street
Tallahassee Florida
32399-1925

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Justice Geoge Pettus Raney

Served 1885 – 1889 as Justice and 1889 – 1894 as Chief Justice
b. Apalachicola, Florida – October 11, 1845  d. January 8, 1911 – Tallahassee, Florida

George Raney grew up on the Florida frontier.  He was admitted to the University of Virginia in 1862, but withdrew to join the Confederate Army, where he achieved the rank of sergeant major by the war’s end. Raney resumed his studies at the University of Virginia after the war and was then admitted to the bar at Apalachicola in 1867, where he began his law practice.  He also involved himself in the Democratic Party, and was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1868.  He moved permanently to Tallahassee the next year.  Raney worked hard to promote the Democrats and planned the party strategy that enabled George Drew to win the governor’s race in 1876.  The new governor appointed Raney to his cabinet as Attorney General.  The appointment was renewed by Governor Bloxham in 1880.  Raney played a major role in the 1881 purchase of four million acres of Florida swampland by the first of Florida’s great industrialist developers, Hamilton Disston, of Philadelphia.   In 1885, incoming Governor Edward Perry appointed Raney to the Supreme Court.  In 1888, with popular election of justices, Raney was returned to office, and by lot received a six-year term and the position of Chief Justice.  At the end of this term Raney resigned to once again take part in state and local politics.  Once in private practice, he often represented railroads in court and before the state’s regulatory board, the Railroad Commission.  He became a well-known elder statesman in Tallahassee, campaigning to keep the city as the state capital in 1900.  Raney died suddenly of pneumonia in 1911.

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