The Florida Seven

1st Lt. Michael A. Cerrone, 24, of Clarksville, Tenn., died Nov. 12, 2006 in Samarra, Iraq, of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations.
AP Photo
The seven justices on Florida's Supreme Court, all appointed by Democratic governors, have played a crucial role in breathing life into Democrat Al Gore's dream of winning the White House.

On Friday, by a 4-3 vote, the state high court reversed Circuit Judge N. Sanders Sauls' decision to uphold George W. Bush's victory in the Sunshine State and ordered a statewide manual recount of so-called "undervotes." If the high court had decided to uphold Sauls' ruling, Florida's 25 crucial electoral votes and the presidency would have gone to Bush.

Three of the justices faced Florida voters last month: Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince. And Floridians voted overwhelmingly to keep them in their $150,000-a-year jobs. More than 80 percent of the nearly 5,800 attorneys surveyed by the Florida Bar Association in August recommended retaining the justices.


Bottom row, from left are:
Justice Leander J. Shaw Jr.; Chief Justice Charles T. Wells,
and Justice Major B. Harding. Back row, from left:
Justice R. Fred Lewis; Justice Harry Lee Anstead;
Justice Barbara J. Pariente, and Justice Peggy A. Quince. (AP)
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Under Florida law, the justices are appointed by the governor. They must be retained in their jobs by the voters in the first general election after their appointment, and then serve for six years. None has ever been voted out of office.

The justices are:

Charles T. Wells. In July he became chief justice, a two-year job that rotates by seniority. One of two Florida natives on the Supreme Court, Wells, 61, dissents more frequently than his colleagues. He was appointed to the court in 1994 by the state's late Democratic governor, Lawton Chiles.

R. Fred Lewis. A 52-year-old native of Beckley, W.Va., who says he keeps a jar of coal dust on his desk to remind him of his roots. Chiles named him to the bench in 1998.

Peggy Quince. The first black woman to serve on the court and its junior member, she was named by Chiles in December 1998. Quince, 52, is the daughter of a longshoreman and was born in Norfolk, Va.

Leander Shaw. He was appointed in 1983, making him the state's longest-serving justice. He was appointed by former Gov. Bob Graham, now a Democratic U.S. senato. Shaw, 70, was an artillery officer in the Korean War and is from Salem, Va.

Major Harding. Appointed in 1991 by Chiles, he is the second-most senior justice on the high court. The Charlotte, N.C., native was chief justice until last June. He first became a judge in 1968.

Barbara Pariente. Appointed by Chiles in 1997, Pariente, 51, is a native New Yorker. She lives in Palm Beach County, where voters' complaints about confusing ballots helped prompt the battle over presidential votes in Florida. She waa trial lawyer for 18 years before being appointed an appeals court judge in 1993.

Harry Lee Anstead. The high court's other Florida native, Anstead, 63, was raised by his mother in a Jacksonville housing project. Anstead often asks the most questions during oral arguments. He was appointed to the high court in 1994 by Chiles.