Earlier this year, Justice Joseph Woodrow Hatchett, Florida’s 65th Supreme Court Justice and a U.S. Army veteran, passed away. Having been appointing by Florida Governor Reubin Askew (D) in 1975, Hatchet served as the first African American Florida Supreme Court Justice until 1979. Subsequently, because of the history and influence that Justice Hatchett leaves behind, a bipartisan effort led by Rubio and Scott looks to honor him by renaming the federal courthouse in Tallahassee after him.
Florida Senators Marco Rubio (R) and Rick Scott (R) have introduced legislation in the Senate to rename the federal building located on Adams Street after Hatchet, who was also appointed by President Jimmy Carter (D) to serve in a federal appeals court.
In a statement, Senator Scott praised the trailblazing Judge, explaining that “as the first African-American to sit on the Florida Supreme Court, Judge Hatchett broke barriers that have opened opportunities in the judiciary for countless others.” Scott added that Hatchett’s “long and accomplished legal career is inspiring, and Floridians everywhere are grateful for his contributions to our state and our country.”
Similarly, Senator Rubio also released a statement, echoing in Scott’s praise.
“As a veteran and the first African-American Supreme Court Justice for the State of Florida, Judge Hatchett was a remarkable public servant with a significant tenure on the bench,” Rubio expressed, noting that renaming the federal courthouse would “commemorate his legacy.”
The bipartisan effort also includes Florida Rep. Al Lawson (D), who introduced companion legislation in the Florida House.
In a statement, Lawson called Hatchett “a social justice pioneer and public servant who devoted his career to advocating for civil rights.” Lawson expressed that “dedicating a courthouse in his name would honor his influence and dedication to the enrichment of Florida and communities of color across our nation.”
Calling Hatchett the “Voice of Justice,” he called the legislation introduced “a fitting way to memorialize his contributions,” noting that he is “certain Judge Hatchett’s achievements will continue to inspire the people of Florida for generations to come.”