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Chief justice to receive distinguished UF honor

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 15, 2001

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles T. Wells will be named a Distinguished Alumnus at the University of Florida's commencement ceremony today.

Known to have an office full of Gator memorabilia as well as orange and blue judicial robes, Wells said his children were amazed when he accepted a job that required him to live in Tallahassee, home of arch rival Florida State.

"It placed the family homestead squarely in the middle of enemy territory," Wells said Friday. "Well, this weekend, I'm coming home."

Wells, 62, practiced law in Orlando before he was named to the state's highest court by Gov. Lawton Chiles in 1994. He presided over the court's highest-profile case a year ago: the dispute over the presidential election recount.

The two arguments before the court remain the only appellate proceedings in U.S. history to be broadcast live, gavel to gavel, by all the major television networks.

Wells says his orange and blue robes will remain safely hidden away in his office "at least for now." He has yet to wear them in court.

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