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


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.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.