James Lawrence King
|James Lawrence King|
|Senior District Judge United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida|
1992 – Present
|Judge on the
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
|Nominated by||Richard Nixon|
|Preceded by||Newly Created Seat|
|Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida|
|Preceded by||Joe Oscar Eaton|
|Succeeded by||Norman Charles Roettger, Jr.|
December 20, 1927|
James Lawrence King (born December 20, 1927) is the senior United States federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and one of the longest serving federal judges in the entire United States.
Born in Miami, Florida. He received a B.A. from the University of Florida in 1949 and an LL.B. from the University of Florida College of Law in 1953. There, he was a member of the law review and Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity.
King served in the United States Air Force from 1953 to 1955 and was in a private law practice in Miami, Florida from 1953 until 1964 when he became a member of the Florida Board of Regents. From 1964 until 1970, he was a circuit judge in the 11th Judicial Court of Florida. In 1965, he was an associate justice of the Florida Supreme Court and was an associate justice of the Third District Court of Appeals of Florida in 1966 and 1967.
On October 7, 1970, King was nominated by President Richard Nixon to a new seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Although King was a lifelong Democrat, the Republican Nixon was forced to agree to appoint King as a precondition to other nominees' approval by the Senate. King was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 13, 1970, and received his commission on October 19, 1970. He served as chief judge of the district from 1984 to 1991, assuming senior status on December 20, 1992. On April 30, 1996, the U.S. Congress renamed the United States Courthouse in Miami the James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building.
King has presided over some remarkable cases during his tenure. In 1981, he overruled the State of Florida in determining that treasure hunter Mel Fisher was the rightful owner of treasure salvaged from the 1715 wreck of a Spanish galleon, in the Cobb Coin case. In 1999 he ruled that relatives of the Brothers to the Rescue pilots shot down by the Cuban Air Force could sue Cuba for wrongful death. He also dismissed challenges to Florida's felony disenfranchisement law and Florida's prohibition against homosexual adoption. King was ultimately affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit in both cases.
- James Lawrence King at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
Newly created seat
|Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
1970 – present
Joe Oscar Eaton
|Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
1984 – 1991
Norman Charles Roettger, Jr.