In Tallahassee sits a lawyer who served as president of The Florida Bar when Cesar Chavez organized California farm workers; riots occurred in three major U.S. cities; Stokely Carmichael appeared on the American landscape; Charles Whitman shot 46 people from the top of a University of Texas tower; the first Super Bowl was played; In Cold Blood was published; the first all-black college basketball team defeated an all-white team for the NCAA National Championship; Congress enacted the Freedom of Information Act; and nine justices in Washington issued a new standard which included the phrase, "no redeeming social value."
Bob Ervin--40 years ago (1965-1966)--saw a Florida Bar with no program for the delivery of legal services to the underprivileged and most likely he never imagined The Florida Bar would expend over $10 million a year for lawyer regulation. I doubt there was a thought that someday one could push a desktop button and simultaneously send a message to hundreds of people, nor was there a vision that a lawyer could commercially broadcast his or her services on television. Who could anticipate that Florida could have 11 law schools with a Bar association of nearly 79,000 lawyers?
Has the profession led by Bob Ervin changed in 40 years? I would suggest it has not. In 1966, three years after Ernesto Miranda was convicted of robbery, kidnapping, and rape in Phoenix, Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision. What was the response of the President of the United States? Total condemnation accompanied by a commitment to appoint judges who would exercise "judicial restraint." The same court ruled that year that the First and 14th amendments of our Constitution protected peaceful sit-ins in a public library. The response? Total condemnation of judicial independence.
Could The Florida Bar of the 1960s have seen the same familiar tensions on the horizon? Perhaps. It was...