Hon. Charles T. Wells delivered a lecture titled "The 2000 Presidential Election: November 8 to December 12--Inside the Florida Supreme Court" February 14,2002, at 4 pm in Rubloff 150. The lecture was part of the Law School's Pope & John Lecture Series on Professionalism.
Charles T. Wells assumed his duties as Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida on June 16, 1994. He entered the national spotlight in December 2000 when he issued a dissenting opinion to the Florida Court's order for a county-by-county recount to decide the presidential election.
Justice Wells expressed concern that the narrow three-to-four majority ruling would lead to an "unprecedented constitutional crisis." On December 12, 2000, the United States Supreme Court agreed with him and overturned the Florida Court with a ruling that made George W. Bush president.
The Pope & John Lecture Series on Professionalism, established in 1991 by the Chicago firm of Pope & John Ltd., is part of Northwestern Law's Program on Advocacy and Professionalism. It focuses on the many dimensions of a lawyer's professional responsibility, including legal ethics, public service, professional civility, pro bono representation, and standards of conduct.
Justice Wells received his BA and JD from the University of Florida. After graduating in 1964, he entered the private practice in Orlando with the law firm of Maguire, Voorhis, and Wells, P.A. He served as a trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. from 1969 to 1970 and then returned to the firm, where he remained until 1976. He then formed the firm of Wells, Gattis, Hallowes, and Carpenter, P.A., in Orlando, where he practiced law until his appointment to the Supreme Court.
During his twenty-eight years in the private practice of law, he was a certified mediator of the Florida Circuit Court and United States District Court. He is a member of The Florida Bar, the American Bar Association, the Orange County Bar Association, and the Tallahassee Bar Association and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
Justice Wells was actively involved in the Orange County Legal Aid Society from 1968 until 1994, serving on its board of trustees from 1988 through 1989. From 1985 through 1994, Justice Wells participated in the Guardian Ad Litem Program, representing dependent and abused children in juvenile and domestic court proceedings. The Society awarded him its Award of Excellence in 1989 for his outstanding pro bono service.
He currently serves on the board of directors of the Conference of Chief Justices and as a member of several of the Conference's committees. He is also a member of the Federal Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Rules of Practice Procedure.
Justice Wells is a frequent lecturer on a variety of legal subjects. Since the 2000 election, he has lectured throughout the United States on the Florida Court's processing and administration of the election cases.