Arthur England was not a pretentious man. Unlike a lot of retired traffic magistrates, he did not want to be called “Judge” after he left the Florida Supreme Court in 1981. It was easy to forget that for all of his professional life, he really was the smartest guy in the room.
England, who died August 1, did much of the heavy legal lifting in the years when Florida was on the cutting edge of everything. Two memorial services, one at his synagogue in Miami and a second this week at the Florida Supreme Court, only begin to scratch the surface of England’s contributions to his state and to the many people who loved him.
Former Gov. Reubin Askew’s eyes sparkled with pride as he paid tribute to his old friend in the well of the courtroom where England had presided. Askew deserves and was happy to take most of the credit for the man who fathered Florida’s Corporate Income Tax Code, the 1973 Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and the Florida Administrative Procedures Act, as well as six children who share their dad’s commitment to education, to community service, and to the belief that in all endeavors of life, character counts.
At the time of his death, England was 80 going on 50. “Tethered to an oxygen machine,” his widow, Deborah Miller England told the Miami Herald, he fended off pulmonary fibrosis at the family home in Coral Gables and attended to his cases and clients until hours before he succumbed.
England served on the Court alongside his good friend, the late Alan Sundberg. To journalists of a certain age, England and Sundberg were Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, shooting holes in the arguments made by legions of old-school, low-tech lawyers who opposed cameras in the courtroom.
Former Florida State University and American Bar Association President Sandy D’Alemberte, who argued the cameras case on behalf of the Post-Newsweek television stations, credits England with designing a one year pilot project that paved the way to the landmark decision which made it possible for the public to see for themselves what was happening in their courtrooms.
At the Miami memorial service, and again in Tallahassee, D’Alemberte eulogized England as a lawyer and jurist who was always motivated to make the law accessible and understandable to everyone.
Court colleague and lifelong friend Eleanor Mitchell Hunter recalled his tireless efforts to modernize the administrative wheels of justice. “It was Arthur who bought the Court’s first computer,” Hunter said.
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the pulpit at Temple Beth Am, and again at the Supreme Court, England’s children spoke of him in the present tense. They smiled and wrapped their arms around each other and delivered the kind of crisp, clear, final summation that England himself was known and admired for in his post-Court career as one of the nation’s premier appellate lawyers: “He’s brilliant, kind, loving, easygoing, and constantly makes us and others feel special and valued.”
For a moment, it was possible to imagine that this was a toast at a family birthday party, and any second now, England would raise a glass and respond.
Florence Snyder is a corporate and First Amendment lawyer. Contact her at email@example.com
Join the FSU FCRC Consensus Center on Thursday December 5th from 3 to 4:30 pm (Sittig Hall, Kleman Plaza, 301 S. Bronough Street) for a free forum that is open to the public on collaboration, civility and leadership. The program will be led by Richard Walker, Senior Vice President/Regional Outreach, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and and Todd Greene, Community and Economic Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Chairman Bernanke recently observed, “Industry mix, demographic makeup, and geographic location make less difference to success than the presence of a community leader and collaboration around a vision for the future.” Walker and Greene will share their insights on collaborative leadership from the Bank’s research and the “Working Cities Challenge” initiative in Massachusetts with an audience of scholars, students and professionals in Tallahassee. The event is part of the FSU FCRC Consensus Center’s initiative “Collaborative Leadership and Florida’s Civic Future” being developed with the FSU Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, Florida League of Cities, Florida Association of Counties, Leadership Florida, AARP Florida and the Village Square. For more info CLICK HERE (and page down for an RSVP link or CLICK HERE.)
This Friday December 6th, FAITH, FOOD, FRIDAY, (“Improbable conversations for people of faith and no faith at all”) continues with “Faith, Food, Money? Faith & Capitalism.” Our guest panelist is Dr. Elvan Aktas, Associate Professor of Finance Valdosta State University.
We wonder where else you’ve ever seen this topic?
To get more information or reserve your seat for this program click HERE. (Lunch is Penne Pasta and Chicken Tenders with Marinara Sauce and Mozzarella – Penne Pasta with Mushrooms, Peppers and Onions in Marinara Sauce and Mozzarella for vegetarians – Chopped Italian Salad, Bread Sticks and Dessert Bars. Oh and you’re always welcome to bring a bag brown lunch.) NOTE: The program is at St. John’s Episcopal Church downtown. RSVP by Tuesday for the early bird lunch price.
Each program is from noon to 1pm and is free and open to the public. If you’d like to eat the hot lunch offered, it is available for $8 through the Tuesday ahead of the program ($10 after). For more information, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 590-6646.
You can see “Faith, Food, Friday” dates and topics for the entire season and even RSVP for any of this year’s programs online HERE.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
If by chance you’ll be in the Tampa/St. Pete area December 5th, the Village Square St. Pete is hosting a program you shouldn’t miss, “Oh Florida, Capital of Weirdness… “From Elian Gonzalex and Ballot-Chasing Lawyers to Ponzi Schemers, Face-Eating Cannibals and Child-Eating Pythons.” It features Dr. Gary Mormino, Professor Emeritus of Florida History at USFSP. Yep that’s our state. While you’re at it, why not visit the St. Pete Village Square website at online here.
“We also must keep in mind that the Founding Fathers warned against day in and day out, including President Washington, about the power of political parties. And the power of parties to tear apart the government and create this dysfunction. We are at a point now where the political parties and people line up in these tribes and it’s very difficult. As I say, you can’t have the same rules in chess oh we’re going to be fine and all that, as you have in mixed martial arts which is where the situation is today in Washington.
“Where we are today George, where we are today is the president in 2008 and 2007 ran on the idea that he was going to bring the country together, bring Washington together. We’re going to get past the partisan gridlock. We’re going to get past the vitriol. And now we’re at a point where the rules have to change in the Senate because it’s become so polarized, so vitriolic that we can’t get it done.”
OK, here’s my contribution to the “Where Were You When President Kennedy Was Shot?” discussion. It being a Friday, I was driving to the bank in Oklahoma City to deposit my paycheck before heading to work. I had just completed my first year as a reporter for the Daily Oklahoman, the state’s leading daily newspaper. Glued to my car radio for more details, I hurriedly completed my transaction at the drive-up window and raced to the office, which I knew would be in all-hands-on-deck mode.
It was. The newsroom was in bedlam as editors on the afternoon paper, the Oklahoma City Times, frantically tore up their front page to get details of the assassination into at least a portion of the press run. Meanwhile, editors of the morning paper on which I worked, the Daily Oklahoman, were huddled to draw up plans for the next day’s paper. While we awaited our assignments, we reporters eagerly snatched bulletins from the AP and UPI teletypes from the hands of the copyboys whose job it was to monitor “the wires.”
Eventually, my City Editor began handing out assignments. The star writer and a photographer were quickly dispatched to Dallas, which is just 300 miles from “The City,” as Oklahoma City was known. Others were assigned to do the stories on the transition of power to Lyndon B. Johnson, the grieving widow Jackie, the nation in shock and mourning. A couple of reporters were assigned to gather reaction from leaders in our state: members of Congress, state legislators, city and county officials, federal judges and law enforcement officers. Two or three others went out into stores and bars for the man-in-the-street reaction.
My assignment: Write a story about LBJ’s last visit to Oklahoma City. The Vice President had been to the state a few months before, for what I no longer remember. Researching our clip-files for stories on the visit and calling local dignitaries who had met with LBJ, I put together a 15-inch story that was published deep inside that Saturday morning paper. I was grateful to have something productive to do, and the concentration required to report and write the story took my mind off the horror of the events in Dallas. I thought of my sister Joan, who lived in Greenville, just a few miles east of Dallas, and her husband Dick, whose parents lived in Dallas.
Most of us worked all weekend to continue to report what was certainly the biggest story any of us had ever covered. By Sunday, we were wrung-out, exhausted after two days of 12- to 15-hour shifts, thinking that on Sunday there might be time to relax, unwind, maybe even smile. But of course there wasn’t, because Jack Ruby decided to take justice into his own hands in the Dallas Police Station that day.
And the presidential funeral – that terrible day of national mourning marked by a 2-year-old boy’s salute to his father’s passing coffin and a riderless horse with empty boots turned backward in the stirrups — still lay ahead on Monday.
CONTACT: Mark Schlakman
(850) 766-2146; email@example.com
Nov. 19, 2013
NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERT TO DISCUSS NUCLEAR NEGOTIATIONS,
HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN
John C. Bradshaw, executive director of the National Security Network, will speak at Florida State University Nov. 20 as part of the “Human Rights & National Security in the 21st Century” lecture series.
Against the backdrop of heightening tensions surrounding Iran’s nuclear pursuits as negotiators from the P5+1 countries and Iran return to Geneva with a concrete proposal that is providing some cause for encouragement, there is a push from some U.S. senators for new sanctions that may complicate U.S. negotiations. Bradshaw will address these issues in his lecture, “Iran: Nuclear Negotiations, Human Rights and Other Emerging Regional Priorities.”
Prior to joining the National Security Network, Bradshaw served as executive director of the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, Washington director of Physicians for Human Rights and coordinator of the Human Rights Leadership Coalition, which comprises 12 major U.S. human rights organizations.
Bradshaw previously was a foreign service officer, serving in Venezuela, Brazil and Burma, as well as in the State Department’s East Asia and Human Rights bureaus. He also served as a foreign policy adviser for Sens. Paul Wellstone and Robert Torricelli, then members of the Foreign Relations Committee.
The FSU Center for the Advancement of Human Rights lecture series explores the frequent tensions between human rights interests and national security imperatives. This lecture is sponsored in collaboration with the National Security Network and is free and open to the public. It will be held:
12:30 – 1:30 P.M.
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 20
FSU COLLEGE OF LAW ROTUNDA
425 W. JEFFERSON ST.
Public parking is available across the street at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, 505 W. Pensacola St.