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Florida Republican lawmakers reverse position on renaming Tallahassee federal courthouse

The measure would have named a federal courthouse in Tallahassee after the first black Florida...
The measure would have named a federal courthouse in Tallahassee after the first black Florida Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Woodrow Hatchett.(WCTV)
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 1:04 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 1, 2022 at 1:06 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCJB) — Some members of the Florida Delegation voted down a measure they co-sponsored that was introduced by Rep. Al Lawson. It would have named a federal courthouse in Tallahassee after the first black Florida Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Woodrow Hatchett.

The bill introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate. Every member of the Florida Delegation co-sponsored the legislation.

Lawson says things took a turn when a congressman shared his concerns with a ruling the judge made causing many Republicans to change their stance on the bill just before the vote was finalized.

“The Republican Congressman of Georgia, Andrew Clyde who prompted the opposition of the bill by sharing a 1999 ruling by Judge Hatchett, in fact, followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Lee v. Weisman regarding student prayer in public schools. Clyde is also one of the three Members who opposed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act,” said Lawson.

The final vote was 238-187 failing to receive the two-thirds majority needed to pass. Rep. Kat Cammack and Rep. Neal Dunn both voted against the legislation. Rep. Daniel Webster voted in favor of the bill along with all the Florida Democrats.

“Judge Hatchett was a true social justice pioneer and public servant who devoted his career to advocating for civil rights. Hatchett was dedicated to his home state of Florida, where he served in many positions in the military and the federal and local justice systems. It would’ve been an honor to recognize such a leader,” said Lawson.

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