The Florida Supreme Court is the final arbiter of legal issues in the state
of Florida. They hear and decide cases ranging from personal injury to
the legality of the death penalty. And recently they took on another role.
The High Court established a new rule mandating what Florida judges can
and cannot wear in court.
This rule establishing the new dress code for judges throughout the judicial
system in Florida is part of the
Florida Rules of Judicial Administration. These rules were first established in 1979 by the Supreme Court and their
purpose is to provide for the speedy and inexpensive determination of
administrative matters in each case that involves Florida courts. Florida
judges and attorneys are bound to obey the rules while in Florida court.
What the Rule Does
The new rule is rule 2.340 of the Judicial Administration Rules. In short,
the rule requires that judges in Florida courts
wear black robes with no embellishments. This means that judges are not allowed any frills, colored robes, additions,
or other enhancements to their robes. While it will not mean a big change
for most judges, some judges who choose to wear different colored robes
or robes with small embellishments will no longer be able to do so.
Before the rule went into effect the court asked for comments on the proposed
rule. Most of the comments either agreed with the court or did not find
a problem with the rule that would make all judge attire uniform. But
one commenter wondered whether the need to establish this rule meant that
the Florida Supreme Court did not trust the judgement of other Florida
establishing the rule, the court addressed this and several other issues.
Rationale for the Rule
Addressing the comment that the court does not trust the judgement of Florida
judges, the court made clear that they have every confidence in Florida’s
judicial branch, but they reasoned that the new rule was needed for a
variety of reasons. The most important reason was that the court feels
that all judges in Florida must enhance the public trust and confidence
in the judicial branch of Florida’s government.
The court gave an example in their opinion of why it was important that
all judges wear the same color and style of robe. If for example a defendant
were facing the death penalty, how would they feel if their judge walked
into court with a red robe? Should the defendant be scared that the judge
would not give him a fair case? Or the judge could walk into court with
a green robe. Would that make a defendant feel like the judge would be
In establishing a uniform dress code for all judges, the court is trying
to do away with the individuality of a judge when it comes to his or her
job. And a judge’s job, after all, is to look at the fact and law
of a case and make an impartial decision. The High Court feels like a
uniform dress code will help the public feel like the decision a court
makes is the same or similar decision they would get in another courtroom.
The Pittman Firm we are experienced in Florida’s courtrooms. Our entire practice
is built on going to court and fighting on behalf of victims of negligence.
If you have been injured due to another’s negligence,
contact us. We will go over your case, answer your questions, and provide you with
your legal options.
See related blog posts:
Florida Supreme Court to Decide on Attorney’s Fees Case;
Florida Courts: An Overview.