Justice Alto Lee Adams

Former Justice Alto Adams was raised on a farm in Walton County, Florida.  He went on to attend high school, serve in the U.S. Navy during World War I, and earn a J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law in 1921. 

He moved to Fort Pierce in 1924 and maintained a successful law practice there until 1938, when he was appointed to the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court. 

In 1940, the Florida legislature added a seventh justice to the Florida Supreme Court, and Governor Fred Cone appointed Adams to that position. He was 41. 

In 1951, he resigned from the supreme court to run, unsuccessfully, for governor.  He then concentrated on his business and cattle operations for the next 15 years. 

In 1967, Governor Claude Kirk wanted to appoint Wade Hopping to the supreme court, but Hopping had not yet completed the required ten-year membership in the Florida Bar.  Instead, Kirk appointed Adams to return to the court.  The appointment led the Florida Bar to question Adams’s qualifications after many years in retirement.  After 10 months, in August 1968, when Hopping became eligible for the court, Justice Adams agreed to retire again, so Governor Kirk could appointed Hopping. 

Justice Adams served from November 25, 1940 to October 22, 1951 and November 13, 1967 to August 1, 1968 as Justice and served January 1949 to January 1951 as Chief Justice. He was born in Walton County, Florida on January 31, 1899, and died February 20, 1988, in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Former Justices

Contact Information

Florida Supreme Court
500 South Duval Street
Tallahassee, Florida
32399-1925 | EMAIL
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