Justices of the Florida Supreme Court

Supreme Court of Florida
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Justice Elwyn Thomas

Elwyn Thomas (St. Lucie)  [served 30 years, 2 months]
Served November 1, 1938 – January 7, 1969 as Justice
Served January 1947 – January 1949 and July 14, 1959 – July 1, 1961 as Chief Justice  [elected at age 44]
b. Fort Pierce, Florida, July 5, 1894     d. February 28, 1971, Tallahassee, Florida
County Judge:  No.          Circuit Judge:  Yes.        

Elwyn Thomas grew up near Fort Pierce, Florida, and graduated from Stetson University with a B.S. degree in 1912 and then an LL.B. degree in 1915.  He began the practice of law in Fort Pierce, served almost two years in the coastal artillery in Key West during World War I, and then resumed his law practice.  He was appointed to the newly-formed Twenty-First Judicial Circuit in 1925.  He served as a circuit judge until 1938, when he ran for election as a Florida Supreme Court justice.  He was elected, then appointed to start his service early by filling out the last two months of Justice Ellis’s term before his own term began.

As justice, Thomas participated in the formation of the Florida Judicial Council.  It asked for input from the judicial branch and the public about how and what the branch should be thinking about for future development and problems that presented themselves.  He also drafted and helped pass the constitutional amendment that created the District Courts of Appeal, in 1957, as a first level of appeals court to relieve the overwhelming burden of cases that had been coming to the supreme court.  He lived quietly in Tallahassee after his retirement.

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