Honor Quince’s legacy by keep­ing court di­verse

Tampa Bay Times - - Local -

The plat­i­tudes at the re­tire­ment cel­e­bra­tion for Florida Supreme Court Jus­tice Peggy Quince out­num­bered the 300plus peo­ple who came to In­nis­brook’s In­ver­ness Hall to salute her on Satur­day.

Ev­ery­one show­ered praise on Quince: those who worked be­side the first African-Amer­i­can woman to serve on the state’s high­est court, those who worked for her and those she in­spired as a men­tor.

Jus­tice Bar­bara Pari­ente, who also stepped down be­cause of the state’s manda­tory re­tire­ment law, praised her friend and col­league as a jus­tice who al­ways ad­vo­cated for the state’s most vul­ner­a­ble and fought against un­fair po­lit­i­cal at­tacks against the ju­di­ciary.

“It is fit­ting with your life­time of achieve­ment and ded­i­cated ser­vice to the state, you will con­tinue to serve and shine as a role model, not only for AfricanAmer­i­cans and women through­out this state, but for all Florid­i­ans,” Pari­ente said. “The young and the old, the rich and the poor, men and women.

“You have tran­scended all those bar­ri­ers.”

Quince, who still lives in Tampa and is a mem­ber of

New Hope Mis­sion­ary Bap­tist Church, cred­ited her faith, her friends and her fa­ther, Solomon Quince, who raised her and her four sib­lings as a sin­gle par­ent.

“He told us our job was to go to school and to do bet­ter than he ever did,” Quince said.

Quince did just that, ap­ply­ing to both law school and med­i­cal school but choos­ing the for­mer be­cause of the civil rights move­ment.

Af­ter earn­ing a law de­gree from Catholic Univer­sity of Amer­ica, her ca­reer even­tu­ally led her to Florida, where she served

With the city in the back­ground, work­ers build the roof of the pier’s Dis­cov­ery Cen­ter, a ma­rine ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­ity.

[email protected]­pabay.com

ERNEST HOOPER

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