December 9, 2023


Justice Barbara Pariente: 'The Questioner'

Barbara Pariente has been a powerful — and sometimes controversial — presence on the Florida Supreme Court for nearly 20 years.

Jason Garcia | 12/28/2016

Pariente’s Pen

Some important opinions written by Justice Barbara J. Pariente:

  • Owens v. Publix 2001/majority opinion
    Ruled that a business could be sued in a slip-and-fall negligence case if it can be shown that the business should have known about the hazard that caused the accident, instead of requiring the victim to prove that the business did know about it.
  • Butler v. State 2003/dissenting opinion
    Warned that Florida’s death-penalty law was unconstitutional, correctly anticipating a decision handed down by the U. S. Supreme Court 13 years later.
  • Bush v. Schiavo 2004/majority opinion
    Ruled unconstitutional a law to keep a braindamaged woman alive despite rulings in favor of her husband, who wished to remove her from life support.
  • Bush v. Holmes 2006/majority opinion
    Declared unconstitutional a private-school voucher program championed by former Gov. Jeb Bush.
  • Harris v. Florida 2011/majority opinion
    Determined that an alert from a drug-sniffing police dog does not by itself constitute probable cause for an officer to search a vehicle, a decision later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • D. M.T. v. T.M.H. 2013/majority opinion
    Provided that a woman in a same-sex couple who contributes the egg for a pregnancy maintains the same parental rights as the woman who carries the child to term.
  • Graham v. Haridopolos 2013/majority opinion
    Ruled that the Legislature had the power to set tuition rates at state universities and colleges, siding with the Legislature in a dispute with the Board of Governors.
  • Redistriciting 2013-15/six majority opinions, one concurring opinion
    Pariente’s rulings included interpreting new redistricting standards for the first time, ruling that legislators could be compelled to testify at trial and ultimately declaring that the Legislature had drawn unconstitutional congressional districts.
  • Delva v. Continental 2014/majority opinion)
    Prohibited discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.
  • Castellanos v. Next Door 2016/majority opinion
    Declared unconstitutional strict limits on attorney fees that the Legislature had imposed in workers’ compensation cases.
  • Westphal v. St. Petersburg 2016/majority opinion
    Declared unconstitutional limits set by the Legislature for disability benefits in workers’ compensation cases.
  • Atwell v. State 2016/majority opinion
    Prohibited juvenile offenders from being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


Tags: Politics & Law, Trendsetters, Government/Politics & Law

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