Florida Supreme Court's First Black Chief Justice Leander Shaw Passes Away

Dec 14, 2015

Leander Shaw, former Florida Supreme Court Justice, passed away at 85 early Monday morning.
Credit floridamemory.com

The Florida Supreme Court’s first African American Chief Justice has died.

In 1960, Leander Shaw, a Korean War Vet and Howard University law grad, became one of the first black attorneys admitted to the Florida Bar during the segregation era. About 20 years later, then-Governor Bob Graham appointed Shaw to the Florida Supreme Court—serving as Chief Justice from 1990 to 1992.

Shaw was also one of the Justices that oversaw the controversial Bush v. Gore case, where presidential candidate Al Gore challenged the vote count of some Florida counties in 2000. At the time, Shaw appeared to favor a lower court opinion not to order a manual recount.

“Can we return for a moment to Judge Saul’s order,” said Shaw. “He makes certain findings. For instance, he finds there was no credible statistical and no other competent substantial evidence to establish by a preponderance a reasonable probability that the results of the statewide election in the state of Florida would have been different.”

According to a Florida Supreme Court spokesman, Shaw died of a long-term illness early Monday morning. He was 85.

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